A hematocrit (he-MAT-uh-krit) test measures the proportion of red blood cells in your blood. Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout your body. Having too few or too many red blood cells can be a sign of certain diseases.
The hematocrit test, also known as a packed-cell volume (PCV) test, is a simple blood test. It’s part of a complete blood count (CBC).
A blood sample drawn from a vein in your arm or by a fingerstick (children and adults) or heelstick (newborns)
Generally, a normal range is considered to be:
- For men, 38.8 to 50 percent
- For women, 34.9 to 44.5 percent
A lower than normal hematocrit can indicate:
- An insufficient supply of healthy red blood cells (anemia)
- A large number of white blood cells due to long-term illness, infection or a white blood cell disorder such as leukemia or lymphoma
- Vitamin or mineral deficiencies
- Recent or long-term blood loss
A higher than normal hematocrit can indicate:
- A disorder, such as polycythemia vera, that causes your body to produce too many red blood cells
- Lung or heart disease