November 1 2010 (Monday) - The R.D.W.

Last Wednesday I gave a talk on anaemia, and when we were discussing the iron deficiency anaemias I was asked about the use of red cell distribution widths.
The RDW is a parameter I have felt we should be reporting for some years, but various inertias have prevented getting this test into routine use. Which is a shame – our analysers routinely produce this parameter with every blood count we do. Reporting them wouldn’t incur any extra expense. And they clearly would be useful. After all, as a trainee (at a hospital long since bulldozed) I was reporting these way back in 1983.

On the other hand, since I moved to my current lab in 1984, we’ve only ever once (to my recollection) been asked to report an RDW. Are they really *that* useful…?

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