Pyropoikilocytosis refers to changes in red cell shape secondary to an exposure to heat, resulting in fragility.


Morphological features in the peripheral blood smear:

(1) budding of erythrocytes

(2) presence of microspherocytes

(3) elliptocytosis

(4) schistocytes (usually few in number)


Causes of pyropoikilocytosis:

(1) hereditary pyropoikilocytosis

(2) thermal burns

(3) in vitro exposure of the blood to high heat, usually during transport


In normal people spectrin in the red blood cell membranes denatures at temperatures >= 49°C. This temperature can be achieved in fires and in vitro.


A patient with hereditary pyropoikilocytosis has abnormal proteins in the red blood cell membrane that denature at lower temperatures.


To read more or access our algorithms and calculators, please log in or register.