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Association of the Red Cell Distribution Width with Red Blood Cell Deformability

Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB,volume 765)

Abstract

The red cell distribution width (RDW) is a component of the automated complete blood count (CBC) that quantifies heterogeneity in the size of circulating erythrocytes. Higher RDW values reflect greater variation in red blood cell (RBC) volumes and are associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) events. The mechanisms underlying this association are unclear, but RBC deformability might play a role. CBCs were assessed in 293 adults who were clinically examined. RBC deformability (expressed as the elongation index) was measured using a microfluidic slit-flow ektacytometer. Multivariate regression analysis identified a clear threshold effect whereby RDW values above 14.0% were significantly associated with decreased RBC deformability (β = −0.24; p = 0.003). This association was stronger after excluding anemic participants (β = −0.40; p = 0.008). Greater variation in RBC volumes (increased RDW) is associated with decreased RBC deformability, which can impair blood flow through the microcirculation. The resultant hypoxia may help to explain the previously reported increased risk for CVD events associated with elevated RDW.

Keywords (MeSH)

  • Ektacytometer
  • Erythrocyte count
  • Erythrocyte deformability
  • Erythrocyte indices

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Fig. 29.1

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Acknowledgment

This research was supported by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health.

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Correspondence to Kushang V. Patel .

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© 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York

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Patel, K.V., Mohanty, J.G., Kanapuru, B., Hesdorffer, C., Ershler, W.B., Rifkind, J.M. (2013). Association of the Red Cell Distribution Width with Red Blood Cell Deformability. In: Welch, W.J., Palm, F., Bruley, D.F., Harrison, D.K. (eds) Oxygen Transport to Tissue XXXIV. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, vol 765. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-4989-8_29

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