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Letters |

Persistent Macrocytosis Following Abstinence From Chronic Alcohol Use

Martin Hasselblatt, MD; Florian Martin, MD; Oliver Maul, MD; Gerhard Kernbach-Wighton, MD; Hannelore Ehrenreich, MD, DVM
JAMA. 2001;286(23):2946. doi:10.1001/jama.286.23.2940.
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To the Editor: Because the mean corpuscular volume (MCV) of red blood cells may be elevated in as many as 89% of patients with chronic alcohol use1 this test is often used as a marker of ongoing alcohol abuse.2 It is not known, however, whether the MCV returns to normal after cessation of chronic alcohol use.

Wu  AChanarin  ILevi  AJ Macrocytosis of chronic alcoholism. Lancet. 1974;1:829-831.
Reynaud  MSchellenberg  FLoisequx-Meunier  MN  et al.  Objective diagnosis of alcohol abuse: compared values of carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (CDT), gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT), and mean corpuscular volume (MCV). Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2000;24:1414-1419.
Ehrenreich  HMangholz  ASchmitt  M  et al.  OLITA: an alternative in the treatment of therapy-resistant chronic alcoholics: first evaluation of a new approach. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 1997;247:51-54.
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Figure. MCV Values and GGT Activity of Abstinent Alcoholics vs Healthy Controls
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A, Mean corpuscular volume (MCV) values of abstinent alcoholics compared with those of healthy controls. Reference range (dotted lines), 81-95 fL. B, γ-glutamyltransferase (GGT) activity of abstinent alcoholics throughout abstinence compared with that of healthy controls. Reference range (dotted lines), <29 U/L.

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