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Editor's Correspondence
September 12, 2009

Is Red Blood Cell Distribution Width a Marker of Overall Membrane Integrity?

Author Affiliations

Copyright 2009 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2009

Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(16):1539-1540. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2009.275

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.

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