Red cell mass

Last updated: Wednesday, 05, December, 2007

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Item Process

In vivo test - rarely indicated, please consult haematologist.


Red cell volume, plasma volume and total blood volume calculated from PCV and isotope dilution after reinjection of red cells labelled with radioactive isotope.

Reference Interval

Consult pathologist.

Red cell volume
female: 20-30 mL/kg
male: 25-35 mL/kg

Plasma volume: 40-50 mL/kg

Total blood volume: 60-80 mL/kg.


Only occasionally indicated in the investigation of polycythaemia.


Demonstration of an increased red cell volume differentiates absolute polycythaemia (primary or secondary) from relative (stress) polycythaemia.


ICSH. J Nuclear Med 1980; 21: 793-800.

Mitchell Lewis S, Bain BJ, Bates I. Dacie and Lewis Practical Haemotology. Churchill Livingstone. 10th ed 2006.