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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the authors' final version prior to publication in Clinical Hemorheology and Microcirculation, Volume 68, Issue 2-3, March 2018, Pages 165-172.

The published version is available at Copyright © IOS Press


This review focuses on the contribution of abnormal blood rheology in the pathophysiology of sickle cell anemia (SCA). SCA is characterized by a reduction of red blood cell (RBC) deformability but this reduction is very heterogeneous among patients. Recent works have shown that patients with the lowest RBC deformability (measured by ektacytometry) have enhanced hemolysis and would be more prone to develop several complications such as priapism, leg ulcers and glomerulopathy. In contrast, patients with the highest deformability, and not under hydroxyurea therapy, seem to develop more frequently vaso-occlusive like events. Although less studied, RBC aggregation properties are very different between SCA and healthy individuals and it was demonstrated that increased RBC aggregates strength could be involved in some complications. Finally, several studies have established that the vascular system of SCA patients could not fully compensate any increase in blood viscosity because of the loss of vascular reactivity, which may result in vaso-occlusive crises.

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