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A MCHC blood test is also called a mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration. It is a calculation of the hemoglobin average concentration inside a red cell. If MCHC levels are higher than normal or lower than normal, it most often indicates a problem.
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How is This Test Used?
This test is used to determine whether a person is suffering from a specific medical condition. It is used to determine whether a patient's MCHC levels are increased or decreased.
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When is This Test Ordered?
A MCHC blood test may be ordered when a patient is experiencing symptoms of weakness or fatigue, is bruising or bleeding easily, is experiencing inflammation, or when a patient as an infection.
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How is This Test Done?
This test is a blood test. First, a nurse or phlebotomist will feel for a good vein in the patient's arm or hand. They will then clean the area with rubbing alcohol and apply a tourniquet. They will insert a needle into the chosen vein and then insert the blood collection tube into the plunger needle. Once they have collected enough blood the tourniquet will be removed and then the needle will be removed.
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What Do the Results Mean?
The results of this blood test can mean many things. If MCHC levels are found to be low, the patient may be suffering from thalassemia or iron-deficiency anemia. By concluding that a patient has this type of anemia, the doctor will further investigate the cause to see whether a patient has problems absorbing iron, whether they have a condition that prevents iron absorption, whether the patient has internal bleeding, or whether the patient has any gastrointestinal tract tumors.
If this test shows elevated MCHC levels, it most often indicates that the patient is suffering from macrocytic anemia. This type of anemia has a variety of causes, such as hereditary spherocytes, vitamin B12 deficiency, liver disease, and folic acid deficiency. All of these are serious conditions that can lead to a variety of serious complications, including life-threatening complications. Burn patients may also have elevated MCHC levels.
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Lab Tests Online. (2009). Complete Blood Count – MCHC Blood Test. Retrieved on November 19, 2009 from Website: http://www.labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/cbc/test.html#when