Red cell distribution width (RDW) and risk of arterial cardiovascular disease - a literature study
Myocardial infarction is the leading cause of death worldwide. Stroke is the third most common cause of death in the western world, and the primary cause of permanent disability. Both diseases are, in the majority of the cases, a result of atherosclerotic plaque formation and rupture. Many common risk factors and preventive options have already been discovered for these diseases, but the incidence remains high. Red cell distribution width (RDW) is a measure of the variability in size of the circulating erythrocytes. It is calculated by most common blood cell counters. Over the last few years it has been associated with a specter of disease entities including arterial cardiovascular disease. The underlying reason for the observed associations remain unknown. The aim of this literature study is to give an overview of the epidemiology and pathophysiology of atherosclerosis, ischemic heart disease and stroke, and present the available literature on the relationship between RDW these diseases. Lastly, potential underlying mechanism for the observed. I’ve approached the problem by use of scientific literature both published as books and relevant research articles. I collected the research articles from the MEDLINE database by using the medical search engines PubMed and Google Scholar. Many low-scale retrospective and some larger prospective studies have described relationships between RDW and myocardial infarction, stroke and atherosclerosis. There are also a few studies reporting the contrary. RDW has also been described as a prognostic marker for mortality after myocardial infarction. RDW is related to atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction and stroke, and can potentially be used as a novel biomarker for risk stratification and prevention of disease. The underlying mechanism for the associations remains unknown, but in most of the literature RDW is proposed as a marker of an inflammatory state in the body.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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