What Are the Meanings of Various Blood Work Abbreviations?

Some common blood work abbreviations such as HCT, HB and MPV stand for hematocrit, hemoglobin and mean platelet volume, respectively, according to the National CML Society. Other common abbreviations such as WBC and RBC stand for white blood cell count and red blood cell count.

A complete blood count includes the amounts of all blood cell types, most of which are denoted with abbreviations, the National CML Society notes. These abbreviations include MCH, MCHC, RDW and MPV, which stand for mean corpuscular hemoglobin, mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration, red blood cell distribution width and mean platelet volume. Platelet count is usually not abbreviated.

Blood tests are used to assess the effectiveness of treatments, determine the health of certain organs, and help diagnose various conditions, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute explains. In many cases, a blood test alone is not enough for a full diagnosis and a physician must take other factors into account, including the patient’s medical history and results from other tests. Conditions that may require a blood test to diagnose include anemia, coronary heart disease, HIV/AIDS and diabetes. Blood tests may be especially helpful for evaluating the functioning of the heart, liver, kidneys and the thyroid gland. A blood test can also give information about how effectively a patient’s blood is clotting.