What are schistocytes - Defintion, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis

Schistocytes (schistocytes) are fragments of erythrocytes that are small and irregular in shape. Since these cells are produced as a result of rupturing of the red blood cell (RBC's) apart, the schistocyte is about half the size of normal erythrocytes and may have a deeper red appearance. An increase in schistocytes can be seen in hemolytic anemia associated with burns and prosthetic implants and rejection of kidney transplants.

Basically, schistocytes are fragments of red blood cells (RBC's) formed by fragmentation of abnormal cells, for example, in pyropoikilocytosis associated with some genetic defect or mechanical injury, toxin or heat-induced change of pre-normal cells. When as a result of mechanical damage, schistocytes often coexist with keratocytes.

Many Schistocytes spiculated. Others have been left too little for their membrane cytoplasmic volume and therefore form microspherocytes (spheroschistocytes). In patients with burns schistocytes can be obeserved as microdiscocytes and microspherocytes. A rare form of red blood cell fragment, linear or filamentous structure is observed in sickle cell anemia. The most common causes of schistocytes are hemolytic anemia and microangiopathy. Schistocytes may be a characteristic of myelodysplastic syndrome which is common in erythroleukemias patients.

What are schistocytes - Defintion, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis

Schistocytes Symptoms

Physically it is difficult evaluate symptoms associated with schistocytes because it might be an outcome of any hemolytic disease or kidney disease.  It can only be confirmed via differential cell count or morphological assessment of blood. Many doctors recommend routine screening of blood 2-3 times in year to rule any hemolytic disease.

Schistocytes Causes

Schistocytes exhibit micro-enteropathic haemolytic anemia and are associated with various non-infectious diseases, particularly disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC). Schistocytes are present with DIC whether caused by non-infectious disorder, for example, malignant tumor,  or underlying infectious disease for example, meningococcemia. Spherocytes are characteristic of gas gangrene, but can be found in various other diseases, including autoimmune hemolytic anemia, cirrhosis, transfusion reactions and severe burns.

Schistocytes Diagnosis

Schistocytes  are usually obtained from direct physical damage to red blood cells secondary to vascular abnormalities or turbulent blood flow. The shape of the fragments may vary from acute or triangular spiculated. Microangiopathic granulation has been reported in several different disorders, including disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), glomerulonephritis (GN). Hemangio sarcoma, myeloflbrosis, dyserythropoiesis and Chronic Toxic inoculation with doxorubicin. Schistocytes have also been identified as a common characteristic of disseminated intravascular coagulation.
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