Diagnosis and management of iron deficiency anaemia: a clinical update

Alan E Dugdale
Med J Aust 2011; 194 (8): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2011.tb03046.x
Published online: 18 April 2011

To the Editor: The levels of ferritin and folate in the blood are regarded as the “gold standards” for measuring deficiencies in iron and folate, but they are complex and expensive tests. The red cell distribution width (RDW-CV%) measures variability in red blood cell (RBC) size, helps in early detection of deficiencies and is available in all automated analyses of RBCs. It is seldom listed on haematology reports, though it can be printed out at no extra cost. A raised RDW-CV% should prompt the treating doctor to consider underlying latent deficiencies and to order specific tests.

  • Alan E Dugdale

  • Department of Paediatric and Child Health, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD.



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