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This is a type of anaemia where the mean cell volume (MCV) is less than 80 femtolitres (normal range = 80-100 fL).
The average erythrocyte is seen smaller than normal and much smaller than a leukocyte. Microcytic cells can appear to have a large area of central pallor.
The most common cause of microcytic anaemia is iron deficiency anaemia*. This shows a microcytic, hypochromic blood film with anisocytosis and poikilocytosis.
* NICE guidance states (2):
Note that reference ranges may vary between laboratories.