Double-Facet Effect of Artificial Mechanical Stress on Red Blood Cell Deformability: Implications for Blood Salvage

Tamir Tsohar, Shaul Beyth, Alexander Gural, Dan Arbell, Saul Yedgar, Gregory Barshtein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The use of intra-operative blood salvage, dialysis, and artificial organs are associated with the application of non-physiological mechanical stress on red blood cells (RBCs). To explore the effect of these procedures on red cell deformability, we determined it before and after the mechanical stress application both in an in vitro system and following a blood-saving procedure. RBC from eight healthy donors and fifteen packed RBC units were subjected to mechanical stress. RBCs from five patients undergoing orthopedic surgery were also collected. We measured the percent of undeformable cells (%UDFC) in the red cell samples using our cell flow properties image analyzer, which provides the distribution of RBC deformability in a large cell population. Mechanical stress systematically reduced the cell deformability and increased the %UDFC, while simultaneously causing hemolysis of rigid, undeformable RBCs. Ultimately, the overall result depended on the initial level of the undeformable cells; the stress-induced change in the proportion of rigid cells (Δ%UDFC) increased (Δ%UDFC > 0) when its initial value was low, and decreased (Δ%UDFC < 0) when its initial value was high. This suggests that the final impact of mechanical stress on the percent of rigid cells in the RBC population is primarily determined by their initial concentration in the sample.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number9951
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 2022

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  • blood salvage
  • deformability
  • mechanical stress
  • red blood cells
  • shear stress


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