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Cardiol Res. 2018 Jun;9(3):144-152. doi: 10.14740/cr732w. Epub 2018 Jun 6.

Red Cell Distribution Width and Mortality in Patients With Acute Coronary Syndrome: A Meta-Analysis on Prognosis.

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Section of Cardiology, University of the Philippines, Philippine General Hospital, Manila Philippines 1000, Philippines.



Red cell distribution width (RDW), a routine component of the complete blood count (CBC), measures variation in the size of circulating erythrocytes. It has been associated with several clinical outcomes in cardiovascular disease. We sought to strengthen the association between RDW and mortality in patients admitted for acute coronary syndrome (ACS) by pooling together data from available studies.


Studies that fulfilled the following were identified for analysis: 1) observational; 2) included patients admitted for ACS; 3) reported data on all-cause or cardiovascular (CV) mortality in association with a low or high RDW; and 4) used logistic regression analysis to control for confounders. Using MEDLINE, Clinical Key, ScienceDirect, Scopus, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials databases, a search for eligible studies was conducted until January 9, 2017. The quality of each study was evaluated using the Newcastle-Ottawa Quality Assessment Scale. Our primary outcome of interest was all-cause or CV mortality. We also investigated the impact of RDW on major adverse cardiovascular events (MACEs) for the studies that reported these outcomes. Review Manager (RevMan) 5.3 was utilized to perform Mantel-Haenzel analysis of random effects and compute for relative risk.


We identified 13 trials involving 10,410 patients, showing that in ACS, a low RDW is associated with a statistically significant lower all-cause or CV mortality (RR 0.35, (95% CI 0.30 to 0.40), P < 0.00001, I2 = 53%), a finding that was consistent both in the short- and long-term.


A low RDW is also associated with lower risk for MACEs after an ACS (RR 0.56, (95% CI 0.51 to 0.61), P < 0.00001, I2 = 91%). A low RDW during an ACS is associated with lower all-cause or CV mortality and lower risk of subsequent MACEs, providing us with a convenient and inexpensive risk stratification tool in ACS patients.


Acute coronary syndrome; Myocardial infarction; Red cell distribution width

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