Blood test

High MCV (Mean Corpuscular Volume) level in the blood

Blood test
High MCV (Mean Corpuscular Volume) level in the blood

What is high MCV called?

  • Macrocytosis

What is the normal MCV level in the blood?

If you need to know which are the MCV reference ranges or you require more information about the role of MCV in the blood you can visit: Normal MCV level in the blood

What does a high MCV mean?

The MCV (Mean Corpuscular Volume) indicates the mean size of the RBCs (Red Blood Cell) in the blood. It is a test useful to discern the different types of anemia. Anemia is the term used for a group of disorder where the hemoglobin in the blood is below the normal range.

A high MCV (macrocytosis) in case of anemia is called macrocytic anemia. A macrocytosis express that the size of the RBCs in the blood is bigger than normal.

The macrocytosis may be due to:

  • Lack of vitamin B12 or folic acid (megaloblastic anemia).
  • Liver disease usually related to alcohol intake (cirrhosis, hepatitis, etc.).
  • Antineoplastic drugs used in chemotherapy or antiviral drug for HIV.

Macrocytosis or a high MCV level in the blood means:

  • Mild macrocytocis (100 - 115 fl in adults) :

    The mean size of the RBCs in the blood is a bit bigger than normal. It is probably that you suffer from anemia and the hemoglobin and the RBC count are lower than normal.

    A mild macrocytosis may be due to drug interference. Many drugs may raise the MCV (antineoplastic, antiviral, antiepileptic, etc.).

    Mild macrocytosis is also seen in case of excessive alcohol consumption related disorders such as liver diseases (cirrhosis, hepatitis C, etc.).

  • Moderate macrocytocis (115 - 130 fl in adults) :

    Moderate macrocytosis is characteristic of megaloblastic anemia due to vitamin B12 or folic acid deficiency.

  • Severe macrocytocis (> 130 fl in adults) :

    Some drugs may cause a severe macrocytocis such as antiviral drugs used for HIV treatment (Zidovudine or ZDV) or antineoplastic used in chemotherapy (hydroxycarbamide).

    Severe macrocytocis is also common in pernicious anemia, a type of megaloblastic anemia where there is a vitamin B12 deficiency due to lack of intrinsic factor.

Which factors can raise the MCV in a blood test?

There are some health circumstances or drugs than can raise your MCV level in the blood:

  • Alcohol
  • Vegetarian diet
  • Pregnancy
  • Splenectomy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Drugs
    • Antibiotics
      • Trimethoprim
    • Antineoplastics
      • Capecitabine
      • Cyclophosphamide
      • Cytarabine
      • Cladribine
      • Fluorouracil
      • Hydroxycarbamide
      • Imatinib
      • Mercaptopurine
      • Methotrexate
      • Sunitinib
    • Antiepileptic drugs
      • Valproate
      • Phenytoin
      • Primidone
    • Antiviral drug
      • Stavudine
      • Lamivudine
      • Zidovudine (ZDV)
    • Immunosuppressive drug
      • Azathioprine

Which diseases can raise your MCV in a blood test?

The most common diseases why the MCV can be higher than normal are:

  • Megaloblastic anemia
  • Pernicious anemia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hepatitis C
  • Hepatic cirrhosis
  • Down syndrome
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Myelodysplastic syndrome
  • Fanconi anemia
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Liver failure
  • Diamond-Blackfan anemia
  • Sprue
  • Imerslund-Grasbeck syndrome
  • Lesch–Nyhan syndrome
  • Hereditary orotic aciduria

What can I do to lower the MCV?

The first step to reduce the MCV is to stop drinking alcohol because the MCV is very sensitive to alcohol intake.

In case of the MCV increase is due to megaloblastic anemia it is necessary an adequate intake of folic acid and vitamin B12.

Foods rich in folic acid are green leafy vegetables (spinach, lettuce), legumes (lentils, beans) and citrus fruits (oranges, strawberries).

For an appropriate intake of vitamin B12, you can consume beef meat (liver), dairy products (cheese), fish (salmon, sardines) and seafood (clams, mussels).

Where can I find more information about MCV level in the blood?

You can visit our pages about:

Which values are considered a high MCV level in the blood?

The following values are considered to be above the normal range:

IMPORTANT: These levels are expressed in fl (femtoliter). They are an example of a healthy woman of about 45 years old with no known disease and not taking any medication. The ranges can be different depending on the laboratory or on your personal circumstances.

Mild macrocytocis
100.1 fl100.2 fl100.3 fl100.4 fl100.5 fl100.6 fl100.7 fl100.8 fl
100.9 fl101 fl101.1 fl101.2 fl101.3 fl101.4 fl101.5 fl101.6 fl
101.7 fl101.8 fl101.9 fl102 fl102.1 fl102.2 fl102.3 fl102.4 fl
102.5 fl102.6 fl102.7 fl102.8 fl102.9 fl103 fl103.1 fl103.2 fl
103.3 fl103.4 fl103.5 fl103.6 fl103.7 fl103.8 fl103.9 fl104 fl
104.1 fl104.2 fl104.3 fl104.4 fl104.5 fl104.6 fl104.7 fl104.8 fl
104.9 fl105 fl105.1 fl105.2 fl105.3 fl105.4 fl105.5 fl105.6 fl
105.7 fl105.8 fl105.9 fl106 fl106.1 fl106.2 fl106.3 fl106.4 fl
106.5 fl106.6 fl106.7 fl106.8 fl106.9 fl107 fl107.1 fl107.2 fl
107.3 fl107.4 fl107.5 fl107.6 fl107.7 fl107.8 fl107.9 fl108 fl
108.1 fl108.2 fl108.3 fl108.4 fl108.5 fl108.6 fl108.7 fl108.8 fl
108.9 fl109 fl109.1 fl109.2 fl109.3 fl109.4 fl109.5 fl109.6 fl
109.7 fl109.8 fl109.9 fl110 fl110.1 fl110.2 fl110.3 fl110.4 fl
110.5 fl110.6 fl110.7 fl110.8 fl110.9 fl111 fl111.1 fl111.2 fl
111.3 fl111.4 fl111.5 fl111.6 fl111.7 fl111.8 fl111.9 fl112 fl
112.1 fl112.2 fl112.3 fl112.4 fl112.5 fl112.6 fl112.7 fl112.8 fl
112.9 fl113 fl113.1 fl113.2 fl113.3 fl113.4 fl113.5 fl113.6 fl
113.7 fl113.8 fl113.9 fl114 fl114.1 fl114.2 fl114.3 fl114.4 fl
114.5 fl114.6 fl114.7 fl114.8 fl114.9 fl115 fl  
Moderate macrocytocis
115.1 fl115.2 fl115.3 fl115.4 fl115.5 fl115.6 fl115.7 fl115.8 fl
115.9 fl116 fl116.1 fl116.2 fl116.3 fl116.4 fl116.5 fl116.6 fl
116.7 fl116.8 fl116.9 fl117 fl117.1 fl117.2 fl117.3 fl117.4 fl
117.5 fl117.6 fl117.7 fl117.8 fl117.9 fl118 fl118.1 fl118.2 fl
118.3 fl118.4 fl118.5 fl118.6 fl118.7 fl118.8 fl118.9 fl119 fl
119.1 fl119.2 fl119.3 fl119.4 fl119.5 fl119.6 fl119.7 fl119.8 fl
119.9 fl120 fl120.1 fl120.2 fl120.3 fl120.4 fl120.5 fl120.6 fl
120.7 fl120.8 fl120.9 fl121 fl121.1 fl121.2 fl121.3 fl121.4 fl
121.5 fl121.6 fl121.7 fl121.8 fl121.9 fl122 fl122.1 fl122.2 fl
122.3 fl122.4 fl122.5 fl122.6 fl122.7 fl122.8 fl122.9 fl123 fl
123.1 fl123.2 fl123.3 fl123.4 fl123.5 fl123.6 fl123.7 fl123.8 fl
123.9 fl124 fl124.1 fl124.2 fl124.3 fl124.4 fl124.5 fl124.6 fl
124.7 fl124.8 fl124.9 fl125 fl125.1 fl125.2 fl125.3 fl125.4 fl
125.5 fl125.6 fl125.7 fl125.8 fl125.9 fl126 fl126.1 fl126.2 fl
126.3 fl126.4 fl126.5 fl126.6 fl126.7 fl126.8 fl126.9 fl127 fl
127.1 fl127.2 fl127.3 fl127.4 fl127.5 fl127.6 fl127.7 fl127.8 fl
127.9 fl128 fl128.1 fl128.2 fl128.3 fl128.4 fl128.5 fl128.6 fl
128.7 fl128.8 fl128.9 fl129 fl129.1 fl129.2 fl129.3 fl129.4 fl
129.5 fl129.6 fl129.7 fl129.8 fl129.9 fl130 fl  
Severe macrocytocis
130.1 fl130.2 fl130.3 fl130.4 fl130.5 fl130.6 fl130.7 fl130.8 fl
130.9 fl131 fl131.1 fl131.2 fl131.3 fl131.4 fl131.5 fl131.6 fl
131.7 fl131.8 fl131.9 fl132 fl132.1 fl132.2 fl132.3 fl132.4 fl
132.5 fl132.6 fl132.7 fl132.8 fl132.9 fl133 fl133.1 fl133.2 fl
133.3 fl133.4 fl133.5 fl133.6 fl133.7 fl133.8 fl133.9 fl134 fl
134.1 fl134.2 fl134.3 fl134.4 fl134.5 fl134.6 fl134.7 fl134.8 fl
134.9 fl135 fl135.1 fl135.2 fl135.3 fl135.4 fl135.5 fl135.6 fl
135.7 fl135.8 fl135.9 fl136 fl136.1 fl136.2 fl136.3 fl136.4 fl
136.5 fl136.6 fl136.7 fl136.8 fl136.9 fl137 fl137.1 fl137.2 fl
137.3 fl137.4 fl137.5 fl137.6 fl137.7 fl137.8 fl137.9 fl138 fl
138.1 fl138.2 fl138.3 fl138.4 fl138.5 fl138.6 fl138.7 fl138.8 fl
138.9 fl139 fl139.1 fl139.2 fl139.3 fl139.4 fl139.5 fl139.6 fl
139.7 fl139.8 fl139.9 fl140 fl140.1 fl140.2 fl140.3 fl140.4 fl
140.5 fl140.6 fl140.7 fl140.8 fl140.9 fl141 fl141.1 fl141.2 fl
141.3 fl141.4 fl141.5 fl141.6 fl141.7 fl141.8 fl141.9 fl142 fl
142.1 fl142.2 fl142.3 fl142.4 fl142.5 fl142.6 fl142.7 fl142.8 fl
142.9 fl143 fl143.1 fl143.2 fl143.3 fl143.4 fl143.5 fl143.6 fl
143.7 fl143.8 fl143.9 fl144 fl144.1 fl144.2 fl144.3 fl144.4 fl
144.5 fl144.6 fl144.7 fl144.8 fl144.9 fl145 fl145.1 fl145.2 fl
145.3 fl145.4 fl145.5 fl145.6 fl145.7 fl145.8 fl145.9 fl146 fl
146.1 fl146.2 fl146.3 fl146.4 fl146.5 fl146.6 fl146.7 fl146.8 fl
146.9 fl147 fl147.1 fl147.2 fl147.3 fl147.4 fl147.5 fl147.6 fl
147.7 fl147.8 fl147.9 fl148 fl148.1 fl148.2 fl148.3 fl148.4 fl
148.5 fl148.6 fl148.7 fl148.8 fl148.9 fl149 fl149.1 fl149.2 fl
149.3 fl149.4 fl149.5 fl149.6 fl149.7 fl149.8 fl149.9 fl150 fl
150.1 fl150.2 fl150.3 fl150.4 fl150.5 fl150.6 fl150.7 fl150.8 fl
150.9 fl151 fl151.1 fl151.2 fl151.3 fl151.4 fl151.5 fl151.6 fl
151.7 fl151.8 fl151.9 fl152 fl152.1 fl152.2 fl152.3 fl152.4 fl
152.5 fl152.6 fl152.7 fl152.8 fl152.9 fl153 fl153.1 fl153.2 fl
153.3 fl153.4 fl153.5 fl153.6 fl153.7 fl153.8 fl153.9 fl154 fl
Last update: 18/12/2020


  • Concise Book of Medical Laboratory Technology: Methods and Interpretations. 2nd Edition. 2015. Ramnik Sood. ISBN: 978-93-5152-333-8. Pag. 216.
  • A Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Test. 9th edition. Frances Fischbach. Marshall B. Dunning III. 2014. Pag 98. ISBN-10: 1451190891.
  • Laboratory tests and diagnostic procedures with nursing diagnoses (8th ed), Jane Vincent Corbett, Angela Denise Banks, ISBN: 978-0-13-237332-6, Pag. 33.

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