Iron is an essential metal for the body and is required for hemoglobin synthesis in erythrocytes, oxidation reduction reactions & cellular proliferation. Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) is the most common anemia worldwide. It is especially prevalent in women and children in regions where meat intake is low, food is not fortified with iron, and where malaria and other parasitic infections are common. The analysis of Mean Cell Hemoglobin of the reticulocytes (MCHr) by a hematology analyzer can help monitor acute changes in hemoglobin incorporation into the erythron and is more sensitive than indirect chemical methods. Compared with erythrocytes, the shorter lifespan of reticulocytes makes MCHr a better biomarker to reflect short term iron status in patients than hemoglobin values. Since MCHr values can be obtained on a routine CBC, it is an attractive alternative for the diagnosis of IDA, especially in countries with high prevalence of the disease.
Dr. Nita Munshi, MD
Professor, Head and Director of Laboratory, Ruby Hall Group of Hospitals
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