Normocytic anemia

Normocytic anemia is a type of anemia and is a common issue that occurs for men and women typically over 85 years old. Its prevalence increases with age, reaching 44 percent in men older than 85 years.[1]


A normocytic anemia is defined as an anemia with a mean corpuscular volume (MCV) of 80–100 which is the normal range. However, the hematocrit and hemoglobin is decreased.[1]


The issue is thought of as representing any of the following:

Blood loss, suppressed production of RBCs or hemolysis represent most cases of normocytic anemia. In blood loss, morphologic findings are generally unremarkable except after 12 to 24 hrs where polychromasia appears. For reduced production of RBCs, like with low erythropoietin, the RBC morphology is unremarkable.[3] Patients with disordered RBC production, e.g. myelodysplastic syndrome, may have a dual population of elliptocytes, teardrop cells, or other poikilocytes as well as a nucleated RBCs. Hemolysis will often demonstrate poikilocytes specific to a cause or mechanism. E.g. Bite cells and/or blistor cells for oxidative hemolysis, Acanthocytes for pyruvate kinase deficiency or McLeod phenotype, Sickle cells for sickle cell anemia, Spherocytes for immune-mediated hemolysis or hereditary spherocytosis, Elliptocytosis for iron deficiency or hereditary elliptocytosis and schistocytes for intravascular hemolysis. Many hemolytic anemias show multiple poikilocytes such as G6PD deficiency which may show blister and bites cells as well as shistocytes. Neonatal hemolysis may not follow the classic patterns as in adults[3]


  1. Brill JR, Baumgardner DJ (November 2000). "Normocytic anemia". Am Fam Physician. 62 (10): 2255–64. PMID 11126852.
  2. Medical Physiology by Kibble and Halsey p295
  3. Ford, J. (June 2013). "Red blood cell morphology". International Journal of Laboratory Hematology. 35 (3): 351–357. doi:10.1111/ijlh.12082. PMID 23480230.
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