Background: Deformability of red blood cells (RBCs) is a determinant of blood flow resistance as RBCs pass through small capillaries of the microcirculation. Available techniques for measuring RBC deformability often require a washing process after each measurement, which is not optimal for day-to-day clinical use. Methods: A laser diffraction technique has been combined with slit-flow rheometry, which shows significant advances in ektacytometric design, operation, and data analysis. The essential features of this design are its simplicity (ease of operation and no moving parts) and a disposable element that is in contact with the blood sample. Results: With slit ektacytometry, the deformation of RBCs subjected to continuously decreasing shear stress in a slit flow can be quickly measured with extremely small quantities of blood. The measurements with the slit ektacytometer were compared with those of LORCA and a strong correlation was apparent. The deformability of the hardened RBCs was markedly lower than that of the normal RBCs. In addition, the young cells showed higher values of the elongation index than did the old cells. Conclusions: The newly developed slit ektacytometer can measure RBC deformability with ease and accuracy, in addition, the slit ektacytometer can be easily used in a clinical setting owing to the incorporation of a disposable element that holds the blood sample.
- Red blood cell
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Cell Biology