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Keywords:

  • red cell mass;
  • plasma volume;
  • normal values;
  • interpretation

Four European centres provided height and weight data on 202 males and 204 females undergoing red cell mass (RCM) and plasma volume (PV) measurements. For these populations, the RCM and PV predictions by the various published methods were compared. It was shown clearly that predictions based solely on body weight were inappropriate, particularly because approximately half of the male and female populations could be regarded as overweight or obese. Although there was reasonable agreement in the prediction values given by the formulae based on both height and weight, it was not possible to establish which formulae could be recommended. For that reason, the published literature containing normal RCM and PV measurements were re-examined. RCM data for 283 males and 171 females and PV data for 100 males and 67 females were included. Measurements were standardized for variables such as trapped plasma in the PCV, exclusion of buffy coat in the PCV and calculation of PV at zero time. As a result of this analysis, prediction formulae based on surface area for RCM and PV with 98/99% reference ranges have been established.