Osmotic Fragility, Erythrocytes
Evaluation of suspected hereditary spherocytic hemolytic anemia
Confirming or detecting mild spherocytosis
Clinical Information Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test
Spherocytes are osmotically fragile cells that rupture more easily in a hypotonic solution than do normal RBCs. Because they have a low surface area: volume ratio, they lyse at a higher osmolarity than do normal discocyte RBCs. Cells that have a larger surface area: volume ratio, such as target cells or hypochromic cells are more resistant to lysing. After incubation, an increase in hemolysis is seen in hereditary spherocytosis.
Reference Values Describes reference intervals and additional information for interpretation of test results. May include intervals based on age and sex when appropriate. Intervals are Mayo-derived, unless otherwise designated. If an interpretive report is provided, the reference value field will state this.
0.50 g/dL NaCl (unincubated)
Males: 0.0-47.8% hemolysis
Females: 0.0-31.1% hemolysis
0.60 g/dL NaCl (incubated)
Males: 18.7-67.4% hemolysis
Females: 10.9-65.5% hemolysis
0.65 g/dL NaCl (incubated)
Males: 4.4-36.6% hemolysis
Females: 0.2-39.3% hemolysis
0.75 g/dL NaCl (incubated)
Males: 0.8-9.1% hemolysis
Females: 0.0-10.9% hemolysis
Increased lysis in 3 or more concentrations of sodium chloride indicates increased red cell fragility.
Cautions Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances
Infrequently, other hemolytic disorders may also be associated with positive results, as in patients with congenital nonspherocytic hemolytic anemia due to glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase or pyruvate kinase deficiency.
Patients with an immunohemolytic anemia, or who have recently received a blood transfusion may also have increased RBC lysis.
Clinical Reference Provides recommendations for further in-depth reading of a clinical nature
Palek J, Jarolin P: Hereditary spherocytosis. In Hematology. Fourth edition. Edited by WJ Williams, E Beutler, AJ Erslev, MA Lichtman. New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1990, pp 558-569