Red cell distribution width’s role in differentiating iron deficiency anemia from other hypochromic microcytic anemias


  • Shno Ibrahim Hussein Rapareen Pediatric Hospital, Erbil, Iraq.
  • Abbas Abdulkadir Rabaty Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, Hawler Medical University, Erbil, Iraq.



RDW, IDA, RBC indices, Microcytic anemia, Serum iron


Background and objective: The red cell distribution width is suggested to be a more sensitive indicator for microcytic hypochromic anemia. Therefore, this study aimed to determine the role of red cell distribution width in the diagnosis of iron deficiency anemia from other causes of hypochromic microcytic anemia.

Methods: This cross-sectional study involved the children patients who attended Rapareen Teaching Hospital in Erbil city in 2019 and were diagnosed with hypochromic microcytic anemia.

Results: The red cell distribution width was determined in a group of 70 children with iron deficiency anemia and 30 cases with a non-iron deficiency (other hypochromic microcytic anemias). Patients with a higher socio-demographic status were more likely to have iron deficiency anemia than those with low socio-demographic status; 82.61% vs. 76.60%, respectively. The patients with symptoms were more likely to be diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia (P = 0.024). The mean red cell distribution width value was 14.38%, 15.73%, and18.02% among mild, moderate, and severely anemic children (P <0.001). Increasing red blood cells (r=-0.271), hemoglobin (r=-0.454), serum iron (r=-0.601), and serum ferritin (r=-0.560) lead to decrease red cell distribution width. The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, and accuracy of red cell distribution width in diagnosing iron deficiency anemia in children patients were 77.14%, 63.33%, 83.08%, 54.29%, and 73.0%, respectively.

Conclusions: This study showed that red cell distribution width has good sensitivity and specificity in diagnosing iron deficiency anemia.


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How to Cite

Hussein, S. I., & Rabaty, A. A. (2021). Red cell distribution width’s role in differentiating iron deficiency anemia from other hypochromic microcytic anemias. Zanco Journal of Medical Sciences (Zanco J Med Sci), 25(3), 625–632.



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