Is a consistently high RDW-CV something to be concerned about?

on 10/20/08 5:05 am
I'm 13 months out - doing well.

My last lot of bloodwork showed another elevated RDW-CV.

The first set of bloodwork I have results for was the day of my surgery and the RDW-CV was 14.3.  It's never dropped below that going on the 4 bloodtests I've had since.  The most recent was 14.7.

The doc wasn't bothered when I asked about it but I'd like to know more.

I understand it may have something to do with anemia and up until 9 months ago, I did have iron deficiency anemia (thanks to the vitalady for recommending polysaccharide and tender iron).  My iron is now up from 38 to 100.

My B-12 is a whopping 1452 and folate is >20.0.

What are the likely causes for high RDW-CV levels and is it something I need to pursue further?

24 September 2007
Dr. Sebesta - Madigan Medical Army Center (MAMC).
highest/day of surgery/current
 BMI 18.5 (5'5")

Cindy O.
on 10/20/08 5:45 am - Bryan, TX
From Wikpedia:

The red blood cell distribution width, or RDW, is a measure of the variation of red blood cell width that is reported as part of a standard complete blood count. Usually red blood cells are a standard size of about 6-8μm. Certain disorders, however, cause a significant variation in cell size. Higher RDW values indicate greater variation in size. Normal reference range in human red blood cells is 11 - 15%. If anemia is observed, RDW test results are often used together with MCV results to figure out what the cause of the anemia might be. It is mainly used to differentiate an anemia of mixed causes from an anemia of a single cause. The RDW is based on the MCV as it is the MCV that measures the size of the red cell. B12 deficiency produces a macrocytic (large cell) anemia with a normal RDW. However, iron deficiency anemia initially presents with a varied size distribution of red blood cells and shows an increased RDW. And in the case of a mixed iron and B12 deficiency we will have a mix of both large cells and small cells hence the RDW will usually be significantly elevated. An elevated RDW, i.e. red blood cells of unequal sizes, is known as anisocytosis.

Mathematically the RDW is calculated with the following formula:

RDW = (Standard deviation of red cell width ÷ mean cell width) × 100


I do not give medical advice.  I offer my opinion, nothing more. 
on 10/20/08 7:44 am
Thank you Cindy - that's what I've read too.

I'm feeling fine -I just hate to have my concerns about abnormal bloodwork brushed off like that.

24 September 2007
Dr. Sebesta - Madigan Medical Army Center (MAMC).
highest/day of surgery/current
 BMI 18.5 (5'5")

Recent Topics
Certain smells
Megans0988 · 9 replies · 83 views
The Vitamin Adventure
Sheila H. · 8 replies · 122 views
Body fat
Writergurl08 · 17 replies · 209 views
ISO Non-Dairy Protein Reco Please
LBoss1 · 13 replies · 102 views