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Mean corpuscular volume (MCV)

Mean corpuscular volume, or MCV, is a blood test that measures the average red blood cell size. The red blood cells in the body transport oxygen from the lungs to all body cells. Oxygen is vital for cells to remain healthy, reproduce and grow. Too large or small red blood cells may indicate a blood disorder such as anaemia, lack of certain vitamins, or other medical conditions.

This blood test is also known as CBC with differential.

What is MCV used for?

An MCV blood test is usually done during a complete blood count, CBC. A complete blood count is a common blood test to measure different parts of the blood, including the red blood cells. It can help assess general health.

Your doctor may order an MCV test with other tests to monitor or diagnose certain blood disorders, including anaemia. Different types of anaemia affect people, and an MCV can aid in diagnosing the type of anaemia you have.

Why is an MCV blood test necessary?

Your doctor may order a CBC, which includes an MCV blood test during your routine health check. You may also need the test if you have a chronic condition that can cause anaemia or experience anaemia symptoms such as

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Arrhythmia (a problem with the rhythm or rate of the heartbeat)
  • Headache

What happened during an MCV blood test?

During your MCV blood test, a healthcare provider will draw your venous blood sample from your arm using a small needle. After inserting the needle, the provider will collect a small amount of blood into a vial or test tube. You may experience a slight sting when the provider inserts or removes the needle. This procedure takes less than five minutes.

What can I do to prepare for the test?

An MCV blood test doesn’t need any special preparations. If your healthcare provider ordered other tests on your blood sample, fasting (not drinking or eating) for several hours before the test may be necessary. The provider will inform you if you need to follow any special instructions.

Are there risks with an MCV blood test?

There is only a small risk with a blood test. You may notice a slight bruising or pain at the spot the provider inserted the needle, but these symptoms clear quickly.

What do the results mean?

Undergoing only an MCV blood test cannot diagnose any disease. Your provider will interpret your MCV result with other results and medical history to diagnose any condition.

If your MCV blood test shows that your red blood cells are smaller than the normal size, it may indicate:

  • Thalassemia – a rare genetic condition
  • Certain types of anaemia, including iron-deficiency anaemia

Someone with a normal MCV can still have a normal MCV. This may occur if the anaemia results from conditions such as:

  • Kidney failure
  • Aplastic anaemia (rare)
  • A sudden loss of blood

MCV levels outside the normal range don’t always indicate a medical problem that requires treatment. Menstrual period, activity level, diet, medicines and other conditions can affect the test result. Consult your healthcare provider to know what your results mean.

What else should I know about an MCV blood test?

If your healthcare provider thinks you have anaemia or another blood condition, you may need other red blood cell tests alongside an MCV, such as haemoglobin measurements and red blood cell count. These tests are collectively known as red blood cell indices.

You can have an MCV blood test at Blood London. Call us today on 020 7183 0244 to book an appointment for your blood test.

Blood London have been providing MCV Blood Test UK on a self-referral basis to patients in Central and Greater London for over 20 years. Simply walk-in weekdays between 9am and 6pm or on weekends between 10am and 2pm, to have your blood taken by a highly experienced professional in our private, Harley Street clinic using some of the best labs in europe.

Please note that when ordering blood tests on a self-request basis, we will forward you the laboratory report without note or comment from our doctors unless you are under their care.

Following the results of your test, if you would like to undergo a consultation, further testing or treatment please feel free to reach out to the clinic and we'll be happy to help.

How Blood London Works

Order your test

Order your test

Select the test that you would like to undergo

Provide your sample

Provide your sample

Go to the Harley Street clinic for your blood draw and pay for your test in person

View your results

View your results

As soon as the results are ready, the will be sent to you by your chosen method

World class partner lab (TDL)

World class partner lab (TDL)

Advice from expert UK doctors

Advice from expert UK doctors

Repeat your tests and track your improvements!

Repeat your tests and track your improvements!

Comprehensive Blood Testing