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September 2013

Best Tests

Anaemia on full blood count: investigating beyond the pale

A finding of anaemia on a full blood count is only the first step of a series of investigations for most patients. The mean red blood cell volume is used to classify anaemia into microcytic, normocytic or macrocytic, which helps to guide additional investigations. As most people with anaemia are asymptomatic or have non-specific symptoms, clinical examination usually only provides limited information. Clinical judgment, however, is an important part of the work-up as the cause of the anaemia and the likelihood of serious disease may differ between patients. The most frequent causes of anaemia in New Zealand are iron deficiency and anaemia of chronic disease. View Article