• Red blood cell (RBC) "deformability" is necessary for maintenance of normal microcirculation. To determine whether RBC deformability was affected in human or murine sepsis, a deformability index was determined in a human study and a murine model. Deformability was decreased postoperatively in patients with sepsis (0.49 ±0.12) compared with patients without sepsis (1.62±0.13) and normal control volunteers (1.51 ±0.17). Deformability was decreased in rats that had undergone cecal ligation and puncture (0.37±0.06) compared with that of sham-operated rats (0.76 ±0.12), as well as in endotoxemic rats (0.38 ±0.4) compared with control rats (0.82 ±0.11). These data suggest that RBC deformability decreases in both human and murine sepsis. This effect could be an important factor in the disordered oxygen utilization noted in human sepsis, and its correction could lead to better tissue oxygenation and preserved organ function.
(Arch Surg 1988;123:217-220)