We read the interesting and provocative observational study by Perlstein and colleagues1 demonstrating a direct and significant correlation of red blood cell distribution width (RDW) with subsequent death from all causes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and chronic lower respiratory tract disease. We speculate that the RDW is a reflection of general membrane integrity, and a high RDW might be a surrogate for membrane instability.
Goldstein MR, Mascitelli L, Pezzetta F. Is Red Blood Cell Distribution Width a Marker of Overall Membrane Integrity?. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(16):1539-1540. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2009.275