RBC Indices Calculator | What is MCHC?

Created by Aleksandra Zając, MD
Reviewed by Anna Szczepanek, PhD and Steven Wooding
Last updated: May 04, 2022

If you have ever wondered what the MCHC is in your blood test, how you calculate MCV, or how to calculate those RBC indices in general, you're in the right place. RBC indices calculator will answer all those questions and more. Do you know what low RBC, hemoglobin, and hematocrit indicate? Read on to find out and be able to read those lab test results on your own!

We try our best to make our Omni Calculators as precise and reliable as possible. However, this tool can never replace a professional doctor's assessment. If any health condition bothers you, consult a physician.

RBC indices meaning

RBC indices are the parameters that are not directly measured in the laboratory. Instead, they're calculated from the other, previously measured values, such as hemoglobin, hematocrit, and red blood cells (RBC) count.

The RBC indices are:

  • MCH,
  • MCHC,
  • MCV.

Let's dive deeper into each of those.

  1. MCH – or mean corpuscular hemoglobin – describes how much hemoglobin (expressed in mass unit) there is in each red blood cell; the unit we usually use is a pg/cell (pg = picogram = 10-12g).
  2. MCHC – mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration – gives us an idea of the mean concentration of hemoglobin in all the red blood cells, expressed in gram/deciliter.
  3. MCV – mean corpuscular volume – describes the size of a red blood cell in femtoliters (10-15 l).

RBC indices are usually interpreted together with the set of other lab values, basic morphology being the most crucial. They can inform us about a condition called anemia, which means not enough red blood cells for your organism's needs. They can give us a hint about the type of anemia and a possible deficiency of some nutrients, such as vitamin B12, iron, or folate. They will also give us precious information if we're dealing with a condition of 'too much red blood cells' – polycythemia.

How to use RBC indices calculator

To use the RBC indices calculator:

  1. Choose your sex in the first row. Some blood parameters' ranges are gender-specified.
  2. Fill in your hemoglobin, hematocrit, and red blood cell count in the first panel.
  3. You will see the calculated parameters: MCH (mean corpuscular hemoglobin), MCHC (mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration), and MCV (mean corpuscular volume) in the second panel right away.
  4. You'll see your blood test results interpretation below the calculator panel.
  5. Now you know how to use the RBC indices calculator. If you're interested in how to calculate those RBC indices on your own, keep on reading the text.
  6. Remember that the ranges' values may differ between laboratories. If anything bothers you, always check with your physician.

How to calculate RBC indices – RBC indices calculation formula

Knowing just the three basic blood morphology parameters – hemoglobin, hematocrit, and red blood cell count (Hgb, Hct, RBC count) allows you to calculate some additional indicators – MCH, MCV, and MCHC.

RBC indices calculation formulas are:

  • For MCH (mean corpuscular hemoglobin):

    MCH [pg/cell] = HGB [g/dL] / RBC [million cells/mcL] × 10

  • For MCV (mean corpuscular volume):

    MCV [fl] = (HCT [%] / RBC [million/mcL]) × 10

  • For MCHC (mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration):

    MCHC [g/dL] = HGB [g/dL] / HCT [%] × 100

What do low RBC, hemoglobin, and hematocrit indicate?

Low values of the set of three parameters – red blood cells, hemoglobin, and hematocrit – is a definition of a condition called anemia. That means our body feels like there's not enough blood to meet its needs. Anemia can manifest as:

  • Fatigue, tiredness;
  • Paleness of the skin;
  • Fast heartbeat (tachycardia);
  • Brittle, thin hair and nails; and
  • Shortness of breath (especially during physical activity).

If anemia develops slowly, the body has time to adapt to the changing conditions. That's why many cases of anemia stay asymptomatic and they get caught only with routine laboratory tests.

Treatment of anemia encompasses a search for the cause, excluding potentially life-threatening ones, and very often – vitamin B12, folate, or iron deficiency.

How do I calculate hematocrit from hemoglobin?

To calculate hematocrit from hemoglobin:

  1. The ratio hematocrit to hemoglobin is 3:1 in a healthy adult.
  2. You need to assume that a patient is a healthy person. This ratio will vary in case of some health conditions.
  3. Now, you need to multiply your hemoglobin value by three: hematocrit [%] = hemoglobin [g/dL] × 3.
  4. To calculate the other way around, just divide the hematocrit by three: hemoglobin [g/dL] = hematocrit [%] / 3.

FAQ

How do I calculate MCH if HGB is 14, and RBC is 6?

To calculate MCH, you need to:

  1. Know the value of hemoglobin. In this case, Hgb = 14 g/dL.
  2. Know the number of red blood cells. In this instance, red blood cells count = 6 million cells/mcL.
  3. Now divide the hemoglobin by the number of cell: MCH = HGB/RBC.
  4. Bring the values to the common volume unit. Hgb = 14g/dL = 0.00014 g/mcL.
  5. Now let's calculate: 0.00014 g/6000000 cells = 140000000 pg/6000000 cells = 23.3 pg/cell.
  6. The answer is: if HGB is 14 g/dL, and RBC is 6 million cells/mcL, MCH equals approximately 23.3 pg/cell.

What is the MCHC?

MCHC means mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration and is one of the red blood cell indices. It tells us the average hemoglobin concentration in every red blood cell. It is expressed usually in grams per deciliter – g/dL.

How do I calculate MCV?

To calculate MCV (mean corpuscular volume):

  1. You need to know hematocrit (Hct) in percent (%).
  2. You need to know RBC count (red blood cell count), expressed in million/mcL.
  3. Divide the hematocrit by the number of red blood cells per microliter: MCV = Hct / RBC.
  4. Multiply it with 10 to convert to a popular unit femtoliters – fl.
  5. Our final equation: MCV [fl] = (Hct [%] / RBC [million/mcL]) × 10

How do I calculate MCHC?

To calculate MCHC (mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration):

  1. You need to know hemoglobin (Hgb) in g/dL and hematocrit (Hct) in percents (%).
  2. Divide hemoglobin by the hematocrit. MCHC = Hgb / Hct.
  3. Multiply it with 100 so it comes in a widely used unit g/dL.
  4. The final equation is: MCHC [g/dL] = (Hgb [g/dL] / Hct [%]) × 100.
Aleksandra Zając, MD
I am a...
female
My blood test results
Hemoglobin (Hgb)
g/dL
Hematocrit (Hct)
%
RBC count
million cells/mcL
Mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH)
pg/cell
Mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC)
g/dL
Mean corpuscular volume (MCV)
fl
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