Red Cell Distrubition Width (RDW): A novel risk factor for cardiovascular disease
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The red cell distribution width (RDW) is a marker of variation of the size of the circulating red blood cells (anisocytosis) and is routinely reported as a part of routine complete blood count (CBC). Thus, elevated RDW levels are observed in many clinical setting such as hemolysis, after blood transfusions and in the setting of an ineffective red cell production such as that of iron deficiency, vitamin B12 or folate. RDW is also increased in clinical states such as pregnancy, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura and inflammatory bowel diseases. Because of the lack of knowledge about prognostic significance, RDW was ignored previously except anemia evaluation.