What is MCHC in blood test?
MCHC in blood test is conducted for estimation of hemoglobin in the red blood cells. The hemoglobin concentration is very important clinical significance, as hemoglobin carries oxygen from the lungs to each body tissue.
Both the high or low concentration of hemoglobin indicates disturbed supply of oxygen and cause many health issues.
MCHC is the amount of the hemoglobin in each RBC. Usually clinicians prescribe to conduct MCHC blood test, if the patient has signs of abnormal hemoglobin like he or she complains too much weakness or lethargy, blood hemorrhage, presence of infection or perceptible swelling of the face or other body parts.
The common reason of conduction of MCHC blood test is for assessment of macrocytic anemia and this test helps to calculate the hemoglobin content in the red blood cells. (1,2)
What does MCHC mean in a blood test?
In the blood test, the MCHC is used as an abbreviated term, which means mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration. This blood test measure helps to estimate the concentration of the hemoglobin in a collected blood sample.
Usually the test result provides the amount of hemoglobin present in the number of packed RBC (red blood cells). the red blood cells are packed together during the centrifugation. Centrifugation is conducted in the centrifuge in which blood sample revolves at high speed. (2,3)
Calculation of MCHC
The calculation of MCHC is done by multiplying the obtainable numerical value of Hgb (hemoglobin) with 100 and then the value is divided by the amount of packed RBCs (this is also termed as hematocrit or Hct).
Therefore, (Hgb ÷ PCV or HCT) x 100
How to perform MCHC test?
The MCHC blood test is a part Complete blood count (CBC) test. For estimating the MCHC value, blood is withdrawn in a blood sample tube. Before withdrawing process has commenced, a certain amount of anti-coagulant is added to the tube.
Then collected blood sample is passed into a Coulter counter. Coulter counter has an orifice from where blood is passed through and the blood cell number and size are measured. The total number of RBC and their size are multiplied to get the result of hematocrit number.
Then the concentration of hemoglobin is also measured, when RBC becomes busted. Then automated instrument also calculate the MCHC value by dividing the hemoglobin amount by the hematocrit number. (4)
MCHC does not have specific normal value, but it’s expressed in a range and above or below that range clinically consider abnormal MCHC value. The most widely refer normal range of MCHC is 33-36 g/dL in normal healthy adults. It can also express in percentage and they may vary within 28-36%.
The normal value is expressed in a range, because it varies with a laboratory to laboratory, as different laboratories use a different technique or machinery which has different calibration value. Therefore, every laboratory mentioned their considerable normal range in the reported result document. (3,5)
MCHC blood test low
If the MCHC value is less than 28%, then clinically this is considered a low level of MCHC. The indication associated with this abnormal value is due to iron deficiency or hypochromic anaemia.
- Iron is an essential element of the hemoglobin. Deficiency of iron content causes abnormal and low content of the hemoglobin.
- Patients with hypochromic anemia have less number of hemoglobin in the red blood cells.
- Prolonged blood loss can also cause low value of MCHC. (2, 3,4)
MCHC blood test high
If the MCHC value is more than 36%, then the result considers as MCHC value is higher than the normal.
There are various clinical causes responsible for high MCHC value. They are enlisted below:
- If the patient is having macrocytic anemia. The symptoms of macrocytic anemia are severe fatigue, chronic headache, loose motion, uncontrolled body movement or ataxia, tongue soreness, breathing difficulty and increased heart rate or tachycardia.
- Spherocytosis is a rare hereditary disorder . In this disease condition, spherocytes, the abnormal cells present in the RBCs, which contains a large number of hemoglobin and causes higher value of MCHC.
- Deficiency of vitamin B12 is another cause of the high level of MCHC. Vitamin B12 or folic acid are essential for erythropoesis (the process of RBCs formation) and also for the maturation of RBCs, which content sufficient amount of hemoglobin.
- Liver disease also causes high MCHC, as the liver plays an important role in blood formation.
- In severely burn victim also has higher value of MCHC. (2,3,4)
Management of the abnormal MCHC
MCHC helps to estimate the hemoglobin content, abnormal value of the MCHC need to correct the hemoglobin content of the blood.
Before initiating the treatment, it is necessary to identify the underlying cause of the condition. The following are the possible factors, which contribute abnormal MCHC.
- The systemic malfunctioning like defective bone marrow, malignancy, renal failure are initiated MCHC abnormality.
- Certain medications can interfere with hemoglobin content, if so, then the immediate alteration of medication is needful to avoid serious health issues.
- Nutritional deficiency, specifically iron, vitamin B12, folic acid and vitamin C cause abnormal MCHC value. This can be treated with supplementation. (4)
- MCHC in Blood Tests: What Does it Mean & How to Test for It.(2013); Retrieve from: http://knowyourblood.com/mchc-in-blood-tests-what-does-it-mean-how-to-test-for-it/
- MCHC Blood Test Results Explained; Retrieve from: http://www.mchcbloodtest.com/
- Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin Concentration; MedFriendly; Retrieve from: http://www.medfriendly.com/mean-corpuscular-hemoglobin-concentration.html
- Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin Concentration – MCHC (2016); Retrieve from: http://coloncancer.about.com/od/glossary/g/MCHC.htm
- Yang Merritt (2014); Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin (MCH) and Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin Concentration (MCHC); Retrieve from: http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2054497-overview#a1
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