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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Gastroenterology and Hepatology - Hematology - Infectious Diseases - Pathology

Clinical Usefulness of Measuring Red Blood Cell Distribution Width in Patients with Hepatitis B
Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Author: YuFeng Lou et al.

by YuFeng Lou, ManYi Wang, WeiLin Mao


Red blood cell distribution width (RDW), an automated measure of red blood cell size heterogeneity (e.g., anisocytosis) that is largely overlooked, is a newly recognized risk marker in patients with cardiovascular diseases, but its role in persistent viral infection has not been well-defined. The present study was designed to investigate the association between RDW values and different disease states in hepatitis B virus (HBV)-infected patients. In addition, we analyzed whether RDW is associated with mortality in the HBV-infected patients.

Methodology/Principal Findings

One hundred and twenty-three patients, including 16 with acute hepatitis B (AHB), 61 with chronic hepatitis B (CHB), and 46 with chronic severe hepatitis B (CSHB), and 48 healthy controls were enrolled. In all subjects, a blood sample was collected at admission to examine liver function, renal function, international normalized ratio and routine hematological testing. All patients were followed up for at least 4 months. A total of 10 clinical chemistry, hematology, and biochemical variables were analyzed for possible association with outcomes by using Cox proportional hazards and multiple regression models. RDW values at admission in patients with CSHB (18.30±3.11%, P<0.001), CHB (16.37±2.43%, P<0.001) and AHB (14.38±1.72%, P<0.05) were significantly higher than those in healthy controls (13.03±1.33%). Increased RDW values were clinically associated with severe liver disease and increased 3-month mortality rate. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that RDW values and the model for end-stage liver disease score were independent predictors for mortality (both P<0.001).


RDW values are significantly increased in patients with hepatitis B and associated with its severity. Moreover, RDW values are an independent predicting factor for the 3-month mortality rate in patients with hepatitis B.