My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Ask Your Question

WebMD Answers

120 Characters remaining
120 Characters remaining
  • First, try and keep your question as short as possible.
  • Include specific words that will help us identify questions that may already have your answer.
  • If you don't find your answer, you can post your question to WebMD Experts and Contributors.

Close

Posted: | Report This Report Question |
 

Answers From Experts & Organizations (1)

Internal Medicine
Emory University
131 Answers
67,220 Helpful Votes
58 Followers
A.

MCV stands for mean corpuscular volume. It’s the average volume of the body’s red blood cells, measured in femtoliters (one-quadrillionth of a liter). Cell-counting machines calculate MCV from a blood sample. A normal value may vary between laboratories, but is usually between 80 and 96 femtoliters (fL).

An MCV above 100 fL is called macrocytosis. When anemia (low red blood cell count) is also present, it’s called a macrocytic anemia. Causes of macrocytic anemia include deficiency of B12 or folic acid, medication side effects, alcohol abuse, and certain blood cancers. Macrocytic anemia can also occur in healthy people who are rebuilding their blood supply (after surgery, for example).

An MCV below 80 fL is called microcytosis (or microcytic anemia if the red blood cell count is also low). Microcytic anemia can be due to iron deficiency, blood loss (in women, most often from menstruation), chronic illness, or a condition causing abnormal hemoglobin like sickle cell disease or thalassemia.

It’s not unusual to have an MCV that’s slightly abnormal without any serious condition identified as a cause. Often in these cases, the MCV becomes normal again on its own when it’s next tested.

This answer should not be considered medical advice...down arrowThis answer should not be considered medical advice and should not take the place of a doctor’s visit. Please see the bottom of the page for more information or visit our Terms and Conditions.up arrow

Posted:
| Report This Report Answer

Was this helpful?

YesNo

Thanks for your feedback.

363 of 386 found this helpful