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Reticulocyte Count

What Affects the Test

Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:

  • Taking certain medicines. Medicines that affect the results include ones used for Parkinson's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, fevers, malaria, and cancer chemotherapy.
  • Getting radiation therapy.
  • Taking sulfonamide antibiotics (such as Septra).
  • Being pregnant.
  • Having a recent blood transfusion.

What To Think About

  • In anemia, the reticulocyte count will be abnormal because the levels of red blood cells and hemoglobin are low. Also, reticulocytes make up a higher percentage of the blood count in anemia, which makes the reticulocyte count falsely high. For this reason, a doctor will check the reticulocyte count along with the reticulocyte index (RI) when checking for anemia. The RI is a measurement for reticulocytes when anemia is present.
  • A reticulocyte count may help a doctor choose other tests that need to be done to diagnose a specific type of anemia or other disease. A low reticulocyte count may mean a need for a bone marrow biopsy. This can tell if there is a problem with how new reticulocytes are made by the bone marrow. To learn more, see the topic Bone Marrow Aspiration and Biopsy.

Citations

  1. Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Other Works Consulted

  • Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2008). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 5th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.

  • Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

  • Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerJoseph O'Donnell, MD - Hematology, Oncology

Current as ofMarch 12, 2014

1 | 2 | 3

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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