What are they? These tests tell about the characteristics of the average red blood cells in our bodies. These values are calculated from original values such as hemoglobin and hematocrit. The MCV (mean corpuscular volume), calculated from the hematocrit and the red blood cell count, estimates the volume of an average red blood cell. The MCH (mean corpuscular hemoglobin) gives the weight of the hemoglobin in an average red cell. The MCHC (mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration) is a measurement of the concentration of hemoglobin in an average cell.

Why measure them? These tests are performed to precisely measure the amount, size of your red blood cells and their hemoglobin content. They can help doctors identify not only an anemic condition, but also the specific type of anemia. One anemia, for example, might be due to an iron deficiency, which would be indicated by a lower hematocrit, a lower MCV and a lower MCH. Or, on the other hand, an anemia might be due to a folate deficiency. In this case, the anemia would be indicated by a higher MCV. The same high MCV, however, might also be an indication of a liver disease or alcoholism.



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