What is MCV Blood Test? | Causes & Symptoms of High & Low MCV Levels in Blood

What is MCV in Blood Test, More on Normal Levels, High & Low MCV values
MCV Blood Test

Mean corpuscular volume or MCV determines the average size of your red blood cells. MCV blood test is one of the components measured in the complete blood count (CBC). The CBC test is often done as a routine screening test or when prescribed by your physician to diagnose or monitor certain blood disorders. This test measures many different components of your blood, including red cells. 

  1. MCV Blood Test Cost
  2. What is the MCV in the Blood Test?
  3. What is MCV & Why is it Important?
  4. How is the CBC (MCV included) test performed?
  5. Is there any Preparation Required before the Test?
  6. Are there any risks in the CBC test?
  7. What does the MCV Test Result Mean?
  8. MCV Blood test high
  9. MCV blood test low
  10. How to improve low MCV levels in blood?
  11. How to reduce high MCV levels in blood?
  12. Providers Locations

For our readers, who are very much interested in knowing the MCV Blood test cost beforehand, we would like to begin with that section.

MCV Blood Test Cost

The MCV test is not taken individually. MCV levels are known from the Complete Blood Count (CBC) Test, which is a panel of tests that also measures WBC, RBC, Platelets, Hemoglobin & a few other blood cell components.  

The cost of the CBC test ranges between $28 and $39 in different labs and facilities across the U.S. No prior appointment is required. Compare the price, order your test online and visit the nearest lab during lab business hours. Complete the procedure and get the results in your email in 2 to 3 business days. Doctor consultation is also available for further treatment or for any kind of medical advice.

The following table shows the Complete Blood Count (CBC) test cost at 3 of our partner laboratories (CLIA – Certified) network located across the U.S. 

Name of our Partner Labs

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  • Reports – 1 to 3 days
  • The entire U.S.
  • Required to visit the lab

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Health Testing Centers

  • Reports – 1 to 2 days
  • The entire U.S. except for Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Maryland & Rhode Island
  • Required to visit the lab

Offer Price


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Personal Testing Labs

  • Reports – 2 to 5 days
  • The entire U.S. except for New York, New Jersey & Rhode Island
  • Required to visit the lab

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Cost of CBC test cost with insurance

Many health insurance policies in the U.S. cover the cost of the complete blood count test when it is done once or twice a year. If your physician recommends you to take the Complete Blood Count test more than twice in a year, you may have to pay the medical bill out of pocket. Also, the coverage offered by private health insurance policies and national health insurance programs varies widely. So we recommend you to check with your insurance company.

Our CBC testing providers do not accept any health insurance. But, on request, they can provide you with a receipt containing all the details like the name and code of the test, and CPT code which is necessary for insurance reimbursement purposes.

What is the MCV in the Blood Test?

Mean Corpuscular Volume is the expanded form of MCV. In your blood, the blood cells are categorized into three main categories, they are –

  • Red blood cells,
  • White blood cells, and
  • Platelets

This MCV blood test shows the average size of your RBCs, red blood cells, also known as erythrocytes. Red blood cells are the prime transporting material for sending oxygen from your lungs to every cell in your body. Your body requires oxygen to function properly without any health issues and stay healthy. If your red blood cells are not in their original form, being too small or too large, they might be a sign of a blood disorder such as anemia, a vitamin deficiency, or other medical condition.

MCV test closely mirrors the Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin (MCH). Since MCV readings and MCH readings offer similar information, physicians generally rely on the MCV values and dismiss the MCH on your Complete Blood Count (CBC) blood test results. (However, MCH is different from MCH, they should not be confused).

What is MCV & Why is it Important?

Mean Corpuscular Volume, also known as Mean Cell Volume is an important measurement detected in your Complete Blood Count (CBC). MCV helps in diagnosing different types of anemia and health conditions. MCV value indicates the average size of red blood cells (erythrocytes) in your blood.

The MCV blood test is a part of your regular screening CBC Testing. Your physician will order this CBC test, which includes the MCV analysis if you experience any of the following symptoms –

  • Fatigue
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Pale skin

Your MCV values provide important information on your blood health, but it is also compared with other red blood cell components such as Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin Concentration (MCHC) and Red Cell Distribution Width (RDW) to have a complete picture on your health and diagnose accordingly.

However, your physician will look in particular for the MCV values for certain medical conditions, such as –

  • To evaluate possible symptoms of anemia such as fatigue, pale skin, and lightheadedness
  • To distinguish between different types of anemia
  • To evaluate other blood abnormalities such as an abnormal white blood cell or platelet count
  • As an additional test in many medical conditions
  • As an estimate of prognosis in people with some medical conditions
High, & Low MCH Levels Causes & Symptoms
MCV Blood Test Values

How is the CBC test performed?

As the name suggests, the Complete Blood Count (CBC) test is a simple blood test. During this test, a lab technician or a phlebotomist will cleanse the skin with an antiseptic and place an elastic band around the upper arm so that the vein becomes visible and swells with blood. He/she then injects a needle and draws a sample of blood in a test tube. After the blood is drawn, he covers the injected area with a band-aid to stop bleeding. The typical blood specimen is then sent to the lab for analysis.

It takes less than 10 minutes to perform this test.

Is there any preparation required before the test?

There is no special preparation required for the Complete Blood Count test. But if the blood sample is going to be used for other tests, you may have to fast for a certain period. Your concerned physician will give you specific instructions on diet.

Are there any risks in the CBC test?

There is no possible risk or complication in taking the CBC test. You might have slight pain or bruise in the injected area for a very little period.

What does MCV Blood Test Result Mean?

MCV values represent the average size of your RBC circulating in your bloodstream. High MCV indicates your RBC size is larger than the average size in a healthy adult. Similarly, lower MCV results indicate that your MCV is smaller than average.

MCV values are measured by calculating a formula, in which – hematocrit is multiplied by ten and divided by the RBC count measured in millions of cells per cubic millimeter of blood

In simple terms, 

MCV = hematocrit (percent) x 10 / red blood cell count (millions/mm3 blood)

Usually, a healthy adult should show an MCV value between 80 to 96 femtoliters per cell. (Femtoliter is cubic millimeter).

MCV Blood Test High

If your CBC test results show high MCV – more than 96 femtoliters per cell, it indicates high MCV in your blood.

Causes of high MCV include:

Generally, MCV increases as men and women age. Nearly 30% of elderly people have elevated MCV levels without any specific medical condition. Following are some of the most common causes of high MCV –

  • Alcoholism
  • Aplastic anemia
  • Benign familial macrocytosis
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Liver disease
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hemolytic anemias
  • Intake of chemotherapy drugs
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes/preleukemia
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency

If the MCV levels are elevated seriously at 125 femtoliters per cell is generally caused due to vitamin B12 deficiency. A study found that people having kidney diseases and having high MCV were twice as likely to die and over 3.5 times more likely to suffer from heart disease than those people having normal MCV.

MCV Blood Test Low

If your CBC test results show less than 80 femtoliters per cell, it indicates your RBCs have low MCV levels.

Causes of low MCV include:

Low MCV values are a result of the following conditions:

  • Anemia of chronic disease
  • HgC and other hemoglobin hybrids
  • Iron deficiency (there are many different causes of iron deficiency anemia)
  • Lead poisoning
  • Sideroblastic anemia
  • Spherocytosis
  • Thalassemia (there are several types and it is thought to occur in around 30 percent of African Americans)

Generally, people having the lowest MCV levels like 70 femtoliters per cell are due to lack of iron or thalassemia.

How to improve low MCV levels in blood?

Low MCV levels are causes by iron deficiency in the blood. Taking iron-rich foods can help to improve your MCV levels. Following are some other ways to boost the MCV levels –

  • Taking an iron-rich diet
  • Iron supplements
  • Adding vitamin C to your diet (to help you absorb iron)
  • Avoid drinking black tea (lowers iron absorption)

How to reduce high MCV levels in blood?

On the other hand, high MCV values are most commonly a consequence of vitamin b-12 deficiency. This condition can be normalized by taking vitamin b-12 rich foods.

Providers Locations

The MCV test can be done in any of the following locations across the U.S. by visiting the nearest lab. To know the MCV test cost, refer to the first section of the article.

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Puerto Rico
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Frequently Asked Questions

Will insurance cover my testing cost?

No, insurance will not be covered in the billing. However, they will provide you a receipt for insurance reimbursement purposes.

How should I book my appointment?

You can choose the most suitable provider from above and make an appointment by following the instructions mentioned by them.

Can I cancel my lab test order?

Yes, you can cancel your lab test order anytime before your testing. A refund will be initiated after deducting the cancellation fee. However, cancellation is at the discretion of the provider.

Do the providers offer result interpretations?

Yes, a few providers may provide doctor consultation who will take you through the results and provide clarification if needed.

How do I receive my report?

To ensure your privacy, the test report will be mailed to you by the provider.

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MCV Blood Test (CBC with Differential)
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