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What is RBC deformability and why is it important?

Updated: Mar 30, 2021

Red blood cells (RBCs) have ability to undergo large deformations when subjected to stresses, which allows the RBCs to pass through capillaries narrower than resting RBC diameter.

A slight decrease in red cell deformability may cause important disturbances in the blood circulation of micro-vessels, but also in blood vessels whose lumen is diminished markedly by atherosclerosis or thrombosis.

Recent clinical observations have reported that reduced RBC deformability is a common risk factor for circulation diseases including diabetes, sepsis, malaria, hypertension, sickle cell anemia, myocardial ischaemia, stroke and other circulation disorders. A growing body of scientific evidences indicates that cell deformability can be used to identify patients at risk for cardiovascular diseases at earlier stage.

Cell deformability test - one that is performed at the patient point of care and that delivers results in just a minute - would give healthcare providers a valuable tool for diagnosing and preventing circulation disorders.

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