[Reticulocyte hemoglobin equivalent as a diagnostic marker for the current iron deficiency : Old wine in new bottles].Anaesthesist. 2020 Oct 26 [Online ahead of print]A
The reticulocyte hemoglobin equivalent (RET-He) is presented as a biomarker for the diagnostics and monitoring of iron deficiency. The marker is independent of the acute phase and can be determined within a few minutes by a blood count. Due to the approximately 120-day lifetime of erythrocytes, iron deficiency and changes in the iron status of erythropoiesis can first be recognized at a relatively late stage using classical hematological parameters, such as hemoglobin, mean corpuscular volume, mean cellular hemoglobin content and also with determination of hypochromic erythrocytes (% hypo). The RET-He is a cost-effective parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of the iron supply for erythropoiesis. Reticulocytes, the precursors of mature erythrocytes, are washed out of the bone marrow into the peripheral blood and normally mature within 2 days to mature erythrocytes. The determination of the reticulocyte number therefore enables a timely statement about erythropoiesis. A measurement of the hemoglobin content of reticulocytes therefore reflects the actual iron metabolism of erythropoiesis and enables assessment of the quality of the cells. Changes in the iron status of erythropoiesis can thus be detected much earlier than by determining only the hemoglobin content of mature erythrocytes, i.e. the mean cellular hemoglobin content. It is recommended that the evaluation of RET-He should be carried out as an inexpensive routine preoperative marker of latent anemia in order to identify patients at risk. In the sense of a perioperative prehabilitation and the enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) concept, patients with iron deficiency can be treated proactively at an early stage in order to prevent complications and extended hospital stays.