The Measurement of Red Blood Cell Deformability
At rest the normal red blood cell is a biconcave disc, but in flowing blood the cell may assume a variety of shapes, suggesting that it is highly deformable. The ability to undergo large deformations when subjected to stresses allows the red blood cells to pass through capillaries narrower than the resting erythrocyte diameter, and ensures that the blood remains a fluid at physiological haematocrits. The clinical importance of both these factors has led to a growing interest in the assessment or measurement of red-cell deformability. There are, however, a multiplicity of techniques in use, and the relationship between them and the parameters they measure is often unclear.
KeywordsPermeability Filtration Dextran Fibrinogen Polycarbonate
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