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Pathology > Basic Hematology > Normal Hematopoiesis > RBC Morphology

RBC Morphology

In a normal individual RBCs show minimal anisocytosis and poikilocytosis; mild variations in hemoglobinization.

Larger than average RBCs are macrocytic (left), while those smaller than average are microcytic (right).

Pale cells (central pallor >1/3 dia) are referred to as hypochromic (right), while cells without central pallor are called hyperchromic (left).

Normal peripheral blood RBCs are normochromic normocytic.

For diseases associated with each red cell abnormality see RED CELL DISORDERS on the Hematology Menu.


In the laboratory you find your RBCc is 4.5 x 10 /L, your Hgb is 140 g/L, and your hematocrit is 0.42 L/L.

What is the MCV ?
What is the MCH ?
What is the MCHC ?

A. MCV = 93 fL; MCH = 3.2 pg; MCHC = 333 g/L
B. MCV= 93 fL; MCH = 31 pg; MCHC = 321 g/L
C. MCV= 93 fL; MCH = 31 pg; MCHC = 333 g/L
D. MCV= 93 fL; MCH = 33 pg; MCHC = 31 g/L
E. MCV = 31 fL; MCH = 1.9 pg; MCHC = 333 g/L

A 28 year old woman comes to you for help. Her hematocrit is 0.38, her RBC count is 4.04 x 10 /L, and her hemoglobin is 125 g/L. What is the MCH ?

A. 304 pg
B. 329 g/L
C. 31 pg
D. 3.1 pg
E. 31 g/L

A 68-year-old woman comes to you for help. Her hematocrit is 0.40, her RBC count is 4.0 x 10 /L, and her hemoglobin is 40 g/L. What is the MCV ?

A. 100 fL
B. 100 g/L
C. 100 pg
D. 10 pg
E. 10 g/L

A 45-year-old man comes to you complaining of weakness. His hematocrit is 0.36, his RBC count is 5.14 x 10 /L, and his hemoglobin is 100 g/L. His red cells are most likely:

A. normocytic normochromic
B. normocytic hypochromic
C. microcytic normochromic
D. microcytic hypochromic
E. macrocytic normochromic

A 30-year-old woman is seen by you during her first pregnancy. Her diet for the last year or two consisted of 4 two liter bottles of Pepsi per day and "maybe a little something for supper". Her hematocrit is 0.18 L/L and her RBC count is 1.5 x 10 /L. Her hemoglobin was 60 g/L. This anemia is best considered:

A. normocytic normochromic
B. microcytic hypochromic
C. microcytic normochromic
D. macrocytic hypochromic
E. macrocytic normochromic

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