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A 43-year-old member asked:

what does a low rdw mean on a blood test?

3 doctor answers8 doctors weighed in
Dr. Gurmukh Singh
Pathology 49 years experience
Low RDW is good: Rdw refers to the variation in the size of red blood cells. Normal value is from 11.5 to 14.5. There is preliminary evidence that high RDW values may portend higher mortality, however, this information has not become part of the accepted medical facts. The data for this association is based on information gathered by the insurance industry.
Dr. Todd Abbott
Pathology 25 years experience
This field is too sm: The red cell distribution width is a standardized way to communicate the size variability of a whole population of red cells. In 'normal' people there is a certain degree of variabililty. A population of abnormal red blood cells may have an alteration in the distribution of sizes of red blood cells. This measurement is not very specific or sensitive for any disease.
Dr. Todd Abbott
Dr. Todd Abbott commented
Pathology 25 years experience
Provided original answer
Do you have anymore questions about red cell indices?
Feb 10, 2012
Dr. Todd Abbott
Dr. Todd Abbott commented
Pathology 25 years experience
Provided original answer
Thanks for asking, More patients should spend time learning about RDW.
Feb 19, 2012
Dr. Todd Abbott
Dr. Todd Abbott commented
Pathology 25 years experience
Provided original answer
Oops, I just realized that most people think I actually am a rabbit, and therefor fell that I have almost no credibility to answer questions for real patients. I would agree, but since most of these questions are not from actual patients I think it will be OK.
Mar 30, 2012
Dr. Ed Friedlander
Pathology 44 years experience
Means nothing: A high RDW is a measure of the variability in size among red cells. When it is low, it's a fluke of statistics, and you should ignore it -- lab "normals" are set so that a few healthy folks lie outside. I run a high RDW as a frequent blood donor, and elevation is a common first-hint that something may be unusual; many healthies have high rdw's for various reasons. Labs mean nothing in isolation.
Dr. Todd Abbott
Dr. Todd Abbott commented
Pathology 25 years experience
I think I met someone who knows you. Bock Bock Easter Bunny!
Mar 30, 2012

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