Red cells arrested by fine fibers and subjected to drag forces in a moving stream of fluid can be stressed beyond the point of rupture. The technique, which is basically an in vitro analogue of the microangiopathic hemolytic state, thus permits a study of red cell behavior over the entire range of stress that the membrane can withstand. Measurements made by this approach show an exponential relationship between the velocity of fluid flow and the resultant membrane deformation. Such exponential membrane deformation is consistent with the morphology of red cell fragments and appears to explain their mechanism of formation.

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