We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......

Interpretation of Red Blood Cell Indices by the Nonhematologist

S. B. McClure, MD, PhD; J. E. Bates, MD; J. D. Bessman, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1985;145(8):1535. doi:10.1001/archinte.1985.00360080217041.
Text Size: A A A
Published online


To the Editor.  —The message of the article by Hansen et al1 and Howe's2 accompanying editorial in the January issue of the Archives is sobering. During the last decade, not only have electronic counters made the traditional red blood cell counts and indices more reliable for detecting iron deficiency and thalassemia3,4 but new indices, such as the red blood cell distribution width (RDW), are now widely available. The RDW improves the distinction between iron deficiency and heterozygous thalassemia when mean corpuscular volume (MCV) is low5-7 and between iron-deficient and normal subjects when MCV is normal.8 However, in view of the data of Hansen et al, it is unlikely that physicians who do not use the long-established MCV will do much better with the additional information given by the RDW. We share the view that the diagnostic approach to microcytic anemias needs to be improved.Incidentally,


Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?

First Page Preview

View Large
First page PDF preview





Also Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
Please click the checkbox indicating that you have read the full article in order to submit your answers.
Your answers have been saved for later.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

0 Citations

Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.