Background: Anemia is a common complication in inflammatory bowel disease patients. We postulate that the distribution of lesions in Crohn's disease is more likely than ulcerative colitis to lead to malabsorption as an additional cause of anemia. RDW, a simple and inexpensive test could be an additional differentiating test. Methods and Results: Retrospective review of 284 cases of which 156 cases were diagnosed with Crohn's disease and 128 cases were diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. There was a significant difference in the mean RDW between the Crohn's and the ulcerative colitis cases (14.9 vs. 14.3, P = .027). Conclusions: We conclude there is a statistical significance between the two groups though this may not represent a clinically significant difference. From our analysis we conclude that RDW is statistically significant and with the implementation of a more rigorous study design and analysis of further data RDW may prove to be a clinically effective marker in differentiating Crohn's disease from ulcerative colitis.
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