Blood cell morphology is a key tool in laboratory haematology. Erythrocyte morphology points to possible aetiopathogenetic events in several primary and secondary haemopathies. Despite advances in medical technology and laboratory automation, red cell morphology remains a basic aspect of haematological evaluation. The human erythrocytes are discoid (bi-concave), about 7–8 μm (size of the nucleus of a small lymphocyte) in diameter, with a central area of pallor (which occupies a third of the red cell diameter) and is well haemoglobinised in the outer two thirds of the red cell diameters, without any inclusions. Deviations from the normal in terms of size, shape, colour, distribution or presence of inclusion bodies suggests possible disease processes. This chapter is therefore dedicated to morphologic description of the human erythrocytes, a study of possible abnormalities, its underlying pathophysiology and the associated differential diagnosis in humans.
Part of the book: Erythrocyte