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December 1989

The Incidence of Decreased Red Blood Cell Deformability in Sepsis and the Association With Oxygen Free Radical Damage and Multiple-System Organ Failure

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Surgery (Drs Macheido, Powell, and Rush and Mr Dikdan) and Biochemistry (Dr Swislocki), University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Medical School, Newark.

Arch Surg. 1989;124(12):1386-1389. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1989.01410120032007

• We studied the incidence of decreased red blood cell deformability (RBCD) in sepsis and the association between decreased RBCD and oxygen free radical generation (as measured by malonyldialdehyde) and the occurrence of multiple-system organ failure (MSOF). Patients were divided into three groups: septic (n = 28), nonseptic (n = 15), and control (n = 5). Serial measurements of deformability index, malonyldialdehyde, and MSOF were made. The deformability index for the septic group (0.23±0.17) was significantly less than that for the nonseptic (1.12 ± 0.48) and control (1.11 ± 0.25) groups. The malonyldialdehyde levels for the septic group (4.5 ± 1.0 nmol/mL) were significantly greater than those for the nonseptic (2.7 ±0.9 nmol/mL) and control (2.6 ± 0.8 nmol/mL) groups. The MSOF index for the septic group (10.1 ± 2.5) was significantly greater than that for the nonseptic (7.6±1.7) and control (6.0±0.0) groups. An inverse correlation existed between malonyldialdehyde and deformability index (=.501, <.001, n = 40) and between deformability index and MSOF index (=.350, <.05, n = 61). We conclude that RBCD is decreased during human sepsis; free radicals generated during sepsis may play a role in the decrease in RBCD. Decreased RBCD may contribute to the MSOF that occurs during sepsis.

(Arch Surg. 1989;124:1386-1389)

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