Laboratory Evaluation

Table 66-1 describes common tests used to determine the etiology of anemia. A diagnostic and treatment algorithm for anemia is outlined in Figure 66-3.

1. A CBC is a necessary first step in evaluating a patient with anemia. If the Hgb and Hct are less than the normal range, the patient is anemic. Subsequent evaluations of RBC indices and the peripheral smear often are necessary to determine the etiology (and ultimately, the treatment) of the anemia.

2. Evaluating the mean corpuscular volume (MCV) is the next step in an anemia workup. It is classified as microcytic, normocytic, or macrocytic if the MCV is below, within, or above the normal range of 80 to 96 fL/cell, respectively.

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