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Hematocrit (PCV or HCT) as a part of Complete Blood Count - CBC

Hematocrit is a part of CBC and is also known as HCT; PCV; Packed Cell Volume.

The hematocrit blood test determines the percentage of red blood cells (RBC's) in the blood. Blood is composed mainly of red blood cells and white blood cells suspended in an almost clear fluid called serum. The hematocrit test indicates the percentage of blood by volume that is composed of red blood cells. The condition called "anemia" results from having too few red blood cells. Anemia causes a variety of symptoms. The hematocrit is a basic test that can tell a physician a lot about a person's health. 

A low hematocrit means the percentage of red blood cells is below the lower limits of normal (see above) for that person's age, sex, or specific condition (for example, pregnancy or high-altitude living). Another term for low hematocrit is anemia. Causes of low hematocrit, or anemia, include:

  • Bleeding (ulcers, trauma, colon cancer, internal bleeding)
  • Destruction of red blood cells (sickle cell anemia, enlarged spleen)
  • Decreased production of red blood cells (bone marrow supression, cancer, drugs)
  • Nutritional problems (low iron, B 12, folate and malnutrition)

A high hematocrit means the percentage of red blood cells in a person's blood is above the upper limits of normal (see above) for that person's age, sex, or specific condition (for example, pregnancy or high altitude living). Causes of a high hematocrit include:

  • Dehydration (heat exhaustion, no available source of fluids)
  • Low availability of oxygen (smoking, high altitude, pulmonary fibrosis)
  • Genetic (congenital heart diseases)
  • Erythrocytosis (over-production of red blood cells by the bone marrow or polycythemia vera)
  • Cor pulmonale (COPD, chronic sleep apnea, pulmonary embolisms)

The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario. For further information about these lab tests contact Symbion VIP Diagnostics pathology lab Ahmedabad at 0942941021