Saturday, March 8, 2014

Fragmented RBCs (Schistocytes)

Fragmented RBCs (Schistocytes)

Background Information of Schistocytes

Schistocytes are essentially fragmented RBCs that is a result of physical damage to the RBCs "cutting" them into small pieces of remnants. The most common cause of this phenomenon is when there is an excessive formation/appearance of fibrin strands in the blood and the RBCs are severed into fragments as they squeeze across a thrombus.

Clinical Significance
In order for schistocytes to be clinical significant, these fragmented cells must appear numerous throughout the fields under a x100 immersion oil microscope. This phenomenon is mostly caused by microangiopathic diseases
(microvascular disease/small vessel disease) such as disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) and thrombotic microangiopathies where there is an excessive formation of thrombus. Additionally, schistocytes can be seen in patients with hemoltyic anemia too and can also be a consequence of mechanical damage in patients with artificial heart valves are transplanted.

Cellular Description

The hall mark of schistocytes is the presence of numerous small fragments of RBCs that appear irregulary shaped, jagged and have two pointed ends.These schistocytes usually do not have a visible central pallor.

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