refers to the presence in the blood of poikilocytes
. Poikilocytes are abnormally shaped red blood cells
as seen on a blood film
. Rather than being seen as a sign
of any one disease, poikilocytosis is a rather general condition. There may, however, be a predominance of one particular type of abnormally shaped red cells, some of which may indicate possible presence of a specific disease or disorder. Normal
red blood cells are round, flattened disks that are thinner in the middle than at the edges, whereas a poikilocyte
is either a distortion of that normal shape or an entirely different shape. Generally, poikilocytosis can refer to an increase in abnormal red blood cells of any shape where they make up 10% or more of the total population.
Causes of poikilocytosis
Abnormal red blood cells are seen in a wide range of conditions, so poikilocytosis is not specific
. However, specific types of poikilocytes may be seen in particular disease states and/or disorders.
- Acanthocytes or Spur/Spike cells
- Codocytes or Target cells
- Echinocytes and Burr cells
- Elliptocytes and Ovalocytes
- Stomatocytes or Mouth cells
- Dacrocytes or Teardrop Cells
- Microspherocytes and Pyropoikilocytes
- Semilunar bodies
In all cases, the treatment of poikilocytosis depends on its cause. For example, poikilocytosis can be caused by a vitamin deficiency, in which case the treatment is to take Vitamin B12
or folic acid
. It can be caused by a digestive disease, such as celiac disease
, in which case the solution may lie in treating the underlying celiac disease so that nutrients can be properly absorbed.