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This study aims to find the cut-off value and diagnostic accuracy of the use of RDW as initial investigation in enabling the differentiation between IDA and NTDT patients. Patients with microcytic anemia were enrolled in the training set and used to plot a receiving operating characteristics (ROC) curve to obtain the cut-off value of RDW. A second set of patients were included in the validation set and used to analyze the diagnostic accuracy. We recruited 94 IDA and 64 NTDT patients into the training set. The area under the curve of the ROC in the training set was 0.803. The best cut-off value of RDW in the diagnosis of NTDT was 21.0% with a sensitivity and specificity of 81.3% and 55.3% respectively. In the validation set, there were 34 IDA and 58 NTDT patients using the cut-off value of >21.0% to validate. The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value and negative predictive value were 84.5%, 70.6%, 83.1% and 72.7% respectively. We can therefore conclude that RDW >21.0% is useful in differentiating between IDA and NTDT patients with high diagnostic accuracy
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