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Red Blood Cell (RBC) Count

Test ID: 


CPT code:



Erythrocyte Count

Clinical Use:

Evaluate anemia and loss of red cells and suspected polycythemic condition

Test Information:

Decrease in RBC count may be the result of red cell loss by bleeding or hemolysis (intravascular or extravascular), failure of marrow production (due to a broad variety of causes), or may be secondary to dilutional factors (eg, intravenous fluids). Increase in RBC count may be the result of primary polycythemia (polycythemia vera) or secondary polycythemia (hypoxemia of lung or cardiovascular disease, increased erythropoietin production associated with renal cyst, renal cell carcinoma, cerebellar hemangioblastoma, or high O2 affinity hemoglobinopathy) including stress polycythemia (hemoconcentration associated with exercise, exertion, fright, etc).

Specimen Type:

Whole blood

Requested Volume: 

Tube fill capacity

Minimum Volume: 

0.5 mL (500 μL for pediatric microtainer capillary tubes; fill tube to capacity.)

Container Type: 

Lavender-top (EDTA) tube

Patient Preparation: 

Invert tube immediately 8 to 10 times once tube is filled at time of collection.


Invert tube immediately 8 to 10 times once tube is filled at time of collection.

Storage Instructions:

Maintain specimen at room temperature.

Stability Requirements:



Room temperature

1 day


3 days



Freeze/thaw cycles


Rejection Criteria

Hemolysis; clotted specimen; tube not filled with minimum volume; improper labeling; transport tubes with whole blood; specimen drawn in any anticoagulant other than EDTA; specimen diluted or contaminated with IV fluid; specimen received with plasma removed

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