Abstract

Size-frequency distribution curves of erythrocytes were generated with the Coulter Counter in 73 normal subjects and patients. Mean corpuscular volume (MCV) determined by routine calculation and MCV determined by size-frequency distribution were similar in all normal subjects and in patients with a single population of erythrocytes. Some patients with iron-deficiency anemia, folate deficiency, and vitamin B12 deficiency had two discrete erythrocyte populations. Some patients with microcytic anemia were shown to have a population of normocytes in addition to the predominant microcytic population. Reticulocytes and normocytes were identified in two patients recovering from macrocytic anemia. Transfused blood was identified as a separate population in a patient with microcytic anemia. In cases with two erythrocyte populations, the MCV of the principal population, as determined from size-distribution curves, differed from the MCV of the entire erythrocyte pool, as was determined by routine methods. Analysis of sequential erythrocyte size distributions in patients under treatment demonstrated the dynamics of erythrocyte subpopulations. Anisocytosis was quantified and shown to be associated frequently with hospitalized patients.

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