Purpose: The use of red blood cell deformability measurements in the diagnosis of hemolytic anemia is reviewed.
Patients and methods: Results from 500 individuals are discussed. Erythrocytes were characterized by the automated measurement of cell deformability as the tonicity of the medium is varied (osmotic scan ektacytometry).
Results: The measurement yields a reliable identification of hemolytic anemias caused by deficiencies or abnormalities in erythrocyte structural proteins. In addition, it can, with good reliability, signal the presence of a glycolytic enzyme deficiency. The scan is complete in 15 min, and can therefore give a rapid indication of the type of hemolytic anemia. The osmotic scans of other hemolytic anemias are also discussed.
Conclusion: The analysis of red blood cell deformability can offer a valuable addition to diagnostic methods in hemolytic anemia.