Summary The diagnosis of sideroblastic anemia is based on bone marrow aspiration, and the detection of ring sideroblasts (RS) in iron staining. The finding of laboratory parameters to approach this diagnosis still remains a great challenge. In this study, we analyzed the value of a specific erythrogram pattern from peripheral blood, produced by the ADVIA((R))120 cell counter, to predict sideroblastic changes in the bone marrow. In a two step-design study, we first showed that 32/38 consecutive patients reporting >/=15% RS had such a pattern in the erythrogram. In the second step, we prospectively identified over a period of 32 months 21 patients with this typical erythrogram; 20/21 had >/=15% RS in the bone marrow. Hence, by this validation, we confirm that the erythrogram is highly predictive of RS in the bone marrow. The interpretation of the erythrogram should become daily practice in hematology to improve the efficacy to detect sideroblastic changes.