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Reticulocyte Count

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Overview

Reticulocyte count is a test done to evaluate the bone marrow’s ability to produce red blood cells1.

What is Reticulocyte Count?

Reticulocytes are a type of red blood cells. The reticulocyte count is a test used to measure how fast the reticulocytes are made by the bone marrow and released into the blood2.  Reticulocyte count is a reflection of bone marrow activity. The reticulocyte count helps monitor and diagnose many diseases as discussed in the next section.

Why is Reticulocyte Count suggested?

Reticulocyte count is used for the following:

  • To evaluate bone marrow function.
  • To evaluate the cause of anemia.
  • To Check if treatment for anemia is working.

How is Reticulocyte Count performed?

Following is the procedure of a reticulocyte count test:

  • A blood sample is taken for the test.
  • Alcohol is used to clean the skin.
  • The technician wraps an elastic band above the elbow so that the veins can be easily seen.
  • The needle is injected near your elbow or the back of your hand and blood is collected in a plain tube attached to the needle. The needle is ejected from the skin.

The tube is labelled and sent to the lab where the reticulocyte count blood test is performed on it.

What are the parameters measured in Reticulocyte Count?

The reticulocyte count is measured as the percentage of red blood cells that are reticulocytes. The normal count is 0.5-1.5 percent for adults and 3-6 percent for babies.

Preparation before performing Reticulocyte Count

Reticulocyte blood test does not require any particular preparation.

Post-care after Reticulocyte Count

No particular post-care is required after reticulocyte count blood test but it is advised to inform your doctor if you feel abnormal after the test.

Sample types in Reticulocyte Count

The sample type in reticulocyte count blood test is a blood sample.

Side effects/risks of Reticulocyte Count

Following are the risks of a reticulocyte count blood test:

  • Bruising
  • Lightheadedness
  • Hematoma
  • Infection

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