Clinical utility of red cell distribution width in alcoholic and non-alcoholic liver cirrhosis

Sandra Milić, Ivana Mikolasević, Mladen Radić, Goran Hauser, Davor Stimac
Collegium Antropologicum 2011, 35 Suppl 2: 335-8
Red blood cell distribution width (RDW) is a measure of the variation of red blood cell width that is reported as apart of standard complete blood count. Red blood cell distribution width results are often used together with mean corpuscular volume (MCV) results to figure out mixed anemia. The aim of our study was to compare the values of RDW in alcoholic and non-alcoholic liver cirrhosis and to determine if RDW follows the severity of disease according to Child-Pugh score. We retrospectively analyzed 241 patients (176 men and 65 women) with liver cirrhosis and anemia, defined as a hemoglobin value < 130 g/L in men and < 120 g/L in women, which were hospitalized in our Division in a period between 2006 and 2008. Patients were divided in two groups; in first were patients with alcoholic liver cirrhosis, and in second with non-alcoholic cirrhosis. Severity of disease was determined according to Child-Pugh score. Red blood cells distribution width Normal reference range is 11-15%. Alcoholic liver cirrhosis had 204 patients (85%) while non-alcoholic cirrhosis had 37 patients (15%). In group of alcoholic cirrhosis the average RDW was 16.8%. In relation to severity of disease the average RDW for Child-Pugh A was 16.80%, for Child-Pugh B was 16.92%, for Child-Pugh C was 17.10%. In the group of non-alcoholic cirrhosis the average RDW was 16.73% and in relation to severity of disease for Child-Pugh A was 16.25%, for Child-Pugh B 17.01% and for Child-Pugh C was 16.87%. We didn't find statistically significant difference of RDW between alcoholic and non alcoholic cirrhosis (p > 0.05) and we didn't proved any statistically significant increase of RDW in relation to severity of disease in group of alcoholic cirrhosis (p = 0.915) nor in group of patients with non-alcoholic cirrhosis (p = 0.697). Our study showed that RDW had not any clinical value in differentiation of anemia neither in alcoholic and non-alcoholic liver cirrhosis nor in severity of liver disease.

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