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Family Physician
Family Physician, Doctor (MD)
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Experience:  Emergency Medicine and Family Practice for over 26 years
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In a routine CBC, what is MCV and MCH and what does it mean ...

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In a routine CBC, what is MCV and MCH and what does it mean if they are high?
Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Family Physician replied 10 years ago.
MCV and MCH are "red cell indices" which measure the mean corpuscular volume (MCV) and the mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH)

The MCV is a measure of the average size (volume) of the red blood cells. It is reduced in conditions which hemoglobin (the red pigment that carries oxygen in blood cells) production is decreased. The most common causes of a low MCV are iron deficiency and some genetic diseases which interfere with normal hemoglobin production.

The MCV becomes elevated if there is a problem with red blood cells dividing when they are being produced in the bone marrow. Common causes of elevated MCV include alcohol use, low levels of Vitamin B12 or folate.

MCH measures the amount of hemoglobin in the average red blood cell. This number is XXXXX in iron deficiency, and high in macrocytic anemia (such as B12 and folate deficiency)

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