In this slide we see sickle cells or drepanocytes in the blood of a patient with sickle cell anemia. Sickle cells may be crescent-shaped with sharp points at both ends. The more usual shapes are shown here. The red cells look more like canoes or boats with blunt-pointed ends. Usually only a few sickle cells are present on fixed and stained smears, even in those patients with severe anemia. As soon as blood from a patient with sickle cells comes in contact with air, most of the sickle cells disappear. The number of sickle cells varies somewhat with the amount of hemoglobin S. Blood of patients with hemoglobin SC disease or hemoglobin S-thalassemia shows fewer sickle cells than those with homozygous sickle cell anemia. No sickle cells or trait subjects are ever seen on fixed films.
Course Section: 01. Description of Red Blood Cells
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