Evaluation of reticulocyte parameters in iron deficiency, vitamin B(12) deficiency and beta-thalassemia minor patients

C Ceylan, M Miskioğlu, H Colak, B Kiliççioğlu, E Ozdemir
International Journal of Laboratory Hematology 2007, 29 (5): 327-34
The aim of this study was to test the clinical utility of reticulocyte parameters in differential diagnosis in iron deficiency anemia (IDA), vitamin B(12) deficiency (B12) and beta-thalassemia minor (TM). We analyzed the percentage of reticulocyte, absolute reticulocyte count, mean content hemoglobin of reticulocyte (CHr), mean corpuscular volume of reticulocyte (MCVr), corpuscular hemoglobin concentration mean of reticulocyte (CHCMr), MCVr/MCV ratio, CHr/CH ratio and CHCMr/CHCM ratio in healthy donors (n = 34), iron deficiency (IDA) (n = 41), vitamin B(12) deficiency (B12) (n = 22), and TM (n = 34). This study demonstrates that the cutoff value of CHr was 25.7 as indicative of IDA (85.4% sensitivity, 97.1% specificity). CHr and MCVr may be useful for TM (cutoff value < or = 24.8 for CHr) and B12 (>102.1, cutoff value for MCVr), respectively. Sensitivity and specificity of these parameters were 90.9, 86.4% and 97.1, 82.4%, respectively. CHCMr is useful to differentiate IDA and TM from B12. While CHr was low value in microcytic groups (mean 21.8 +/- 3.3 for IDA, 21.0 +/- 2.9 for TM), it was high in B12 (mean 32.1 +/- 5.7). However, that of CHr/CH ratio was only significantly in IDA group compared with the control (P < 0.05, mean 0.98). Therefore, there are limitations regarding CHr and CHr/CH ratio differential diagnosis in microcytic and macrocytic groups. CHr, MCVr, and CHCMr are not sufficiently sensitive and specific to differentiate TM from IDA. We conclude that measurement of reticulocyte count and parameters may be a very useful implement in the diagnosis of IDA and TM.

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