What are MCV Tests?

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What are MCV Tests?
MCV or “mean corpuscular volume” tests are blood tests that measure the average volume of red blood cells in the blood. MCV tests are part of the standard blood test called CBC or complete blood count. The result of a MCV test may be calculated by dividing the hematocrit count by the total RBC or erythrocyte count which is expressed in liters. Normal values for MCV tests usually range from 800-100 femtoliters.

Standard tests like CBC are common diagnostic tools used by doctors to know if a particular person is ill or not. Part of complete blood count is the measurement of red blood cell volume through MCV testing. With this test, blood is extracted from the person usually through a vein in the ventral part of the elbow region. A syringe is used for this purpose especially for adults, but a finger-prick device may be used for young patients like infants and children. After the blood is extracted, the blood sample is studied by medical technologies for analysis and calculation of blood component volumes.

A high MCV count simply means that there is greater than normal RBC volume in the blood. If the anemia is present, the condition is called macrocytic anemia and in which case the MCV result could reach up to 150 femtoliters. Many conditions are associated with a high MCV count and these include alcoholism and deficiency in folic acid among others. Low MCV count meanwhile is called microcytic anemia and is usually caused by iron deficiency secondary to poor nutrition, blood loss in the gastro-intestinal region, blood loss during menstruation, and or some chronic disease. If there is iron deficiency, the MCV could be as low as 60 femtoliters.

For people who get abnormal results in the CBC or MCV tests, they should immediately consult with their doctors for proper interpretation and care. The red blood cell is just one component of blood that performs very important functions in the body. Any abnormality in the count should merit urgency for seeking medical attention.

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