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BLOOD - Dr Blood.docx · Web viewHemorrhagic anemia (person lost blood) Hemolytic anemia (immune disorder, infection, blood transfusion) G6PD deficiency Hemoglobin abnormalities Pernicious

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Text of BLOOD - Dr Blood.docx · Web viewHemorrhagic anemia (person lost blood) Hemolytic anemia...



Blood is not an epithelial tissue, and its not loose or dense connective tissue; its classified as a special connective tissue. You have about 5 liters of blood, but that is only half of the body fluid. The other half includes fluid around each cell, and joint fluids, etc.



Blood consists of the following:

A. Plasma

B. Red blood cells

C. White blood cells

D. Platelets

Plasma is what the blood cells float around in. If you spin a blood sample in a test tube, the red blood cells sink to the bottom, and youll see the yellow plasma on top. Some people who need blood just need the packed RBCs, others need the plasma, and some need whole blood, which is both plasma and RBCs. The plasma also carries around the platelets and some white blood cells.


1. Water (90%)

2. Dissolved substances (10%)

a. Proteins

i. Albumin (egg white). Most common protein in blood (homeostasis)

ii. Antibodies

iii. Clotting factors called fibrinogen and fibrin.

iv. Lipoproteins (move fats through blood: HDL, LDL)

b. Nutrients

i. Glucose (main energy source)

ii. Amino Acids (builds proteins)

c. Wastes (urea)

d. Gases (O2, CO2, Nitrogen)

e. Electrolytes = ions (Na+, K+, Cl-, Ca++)


1. ERYTHROCYTES (Red blood cells): These are among the smallest cells in the body. There are about 5 million of them in each of us. Their structure is simple; like a doughnut with the hole not fully cut out.

a. They have no nucleus

b. Filled with hemoglobin (Hgb), which carries O2 throughout the body. Oxygenated Hgb is bright red, deoxy Hgb is a deeper red.

c. Average life span is 120 days. Old ones are destroyed in the spleen and liver, and Hgb is recycled. Every day, about 100 billion of these cells are destroyed, and 100 billion are made: where? Red marrow.


POLYCYTHEMIA is too many red blood cells; can cause blood clots. Need to donate blood frequently.

ANEMIA: Anemia can be caused by many things:

Too few RBCs

Iron deficiency

Hemorrhagic anemia (person lost blood)

Hemolytic anemia (immune disorder, infection, blood transfusion)

G6PD deficiency

Hemoglobin abnormalities

Pernicious anemia (lack of vitamin B12 or intrinsic factor)


Sickle cell disease

Megaloblastic anemia (pernicious anemia)

Hereditary spherocytosis

ANEMIA: Any condition of RED BLOOD CELLS in which the bloods capacity for carrying oxygen is diminished.

HYPOXIA is lack of oxygen to tissues.

It can be caused from:

Ischemia (reduced blood flow to a tissue)

Malfunctioning hemoglobin

Increasing altitude

Characteristic sign of anemia: see reticulocytes in the blood (immature red blood cells). Remnants of the nucleus are still in the cell.


Hemolytic anemia (immune disorder, infection, blood transfusion)

Hemolysis means rupture of RBCs. Hemolytic anemia can be hereditary (born with the genes that cause the disease) or acquired. Hereditary factors include immune disorders and G6PD deficiency. Acquired causes include infections (malaria), and receiving the wrong blood type in a transfusion.

G6PD deficiency (hereditary, X-linked; almost all are males)

G6PDH is an enzyme which is important for RBC metabolism. G6PD is the most common human enzyme defect. A person with this would have a hard time maintaining iron in a reduced state, and they develop hereditary (NOT acquired) hemolytic anemia in response to a number of causes, most commonly infection or exposure to certain medications, chemicals, or ingestion of fava beans.


Pernicious anemia (Megaloblastic anemia)

Caused by lack of vitamin B12 or intrinsic factor

When a person has gastric bypass surgery, the stomach is no longer able to produce intrinsic factor, which is needed to absorb vitamin B12, which is needed to make hemoglobin in RBCs.

Without this vitamin, the blood cells are fewer and much larger than normal (megaloblastic).

The surgery patient must take vitamin B12 shots or sublingual supplements for the rest of their life.


A hereditary form of anemia where the RBCs have abnormal hemoglobin that deforms the cells into many types of unusual shapes, including spherocytes (small and round), target cells (looks like a target) and tear drops.

Sickle cell disease

A hereditary mutation resulting in one valine amino acid substituted for glutamic acid.

Present in African Americans more than in other groups, and is always characterized by sickled erythrocytes.

The sickle shape helps prevent malaria infections, but it also causes blood clots.

Hereditary spherocytosis

The red blood cells shrink over time due to problems with the red blood cell membrane.

Many of the RBCs look small and round.


RBC, Hgb, Hct

Red blood cell (RBC) count is a count of the actual number of red blood cells per volume of blood. Both increases and decreases can point to abnormal conditions.

Hemoglobin (Hgb) measures the amount of oxygen-carrying protein in the blood.

Hematocrit (Hct) measures the percentage of red blood cells in a given volume of whole blood.


A quick screening test for anemia is the hematocrit.

A drop of blood is drawn up a small glass capillary tube and the tube is centrifuged to pack the red blood cells at the bottom with the plasma on top.

Hematocrit measures the percentage of blood volume that consists of erythrocytes.

The hematocrit is the ratio of packed red blood cells to total blood volume.

Normal is about 45% (46% for men and 38% for women.)

Mean Corpuscular Volume

Mean corpuscular volume (MCV) is a measurement of the average size of your RBCs.

The MCV is elevated when your RBCs are larger than normal (macrocytic), for example in anemia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency.

When the MCV is decreased, your RBCs are smaller than normal (microcytic) as is seen in iron deficiency anemia or thalassemias.

Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin

Mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH) is a calculation of the average amount of oxygen-carrying hemoglobin inside a red blood cell.

Macrocytic RBCs are large so tend to have a higher MCH, while microcytic red cells would have a lower value.

Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin Concentration

Mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC) is a calculation of the average concentration of hemoglobin inside a red cell.

Decreased MCHC values (hypochromia) are seen in conditions where the hemoglobin is abnormally diluted inside the red cells, such as in iron deficiency anemia and in thalassemia.

Increased MCHC values (hyperchromia) are seen in conditions where the hemoglobin is abnormally concentrated inside the red cells, such as in burn patients and hereditary spherocytosis, a relatively rare congenital disorder.

Red Cell Distribution Width

Red cell distribution width (RDW) is a calculation of the variation in the size of your RBCs.

Having RBCs with various shapes is called aniscocytosis.

Having RBCs with various shapes is called poikilocytosis.

In some anemias, such as pernicious anemia, anisocytosis and poikilocytosis causes an increase in the RDW.


Blood typing is the technique for determining which specific protein type is present on RBCs.

Only certain types of blood transfusions are safe because the outer membranes of the red blood cells carry certain types of proteins that another persons body will think is a foreign body and reject it.

These proteins are called antigens (something that causes an allergic reaction). There are two types of blood antigens: Type A and Type B.

A person with Type A antigens on their blood cells have Type A blood.

A person with Type B antigens have Type B blood.

A person with both types has type AB blood.

A person with neither antigen has type O blood.

If a person with type A blood gets a transfusion of type B antigens (from Type B or Type AB, the donated blood will clump in masses (coagulation), and the person will die.

The same is true for a type B person getting type A or AB blood.

Type O negative blood is called the universal donor, because there are no antigens, so that blood can be donated to anyone. Type AB positive blood is considered the universal acceptor, because they can use any other type of blood. This blood type is fairly rare. The rarest blood type is AB negative.


There is another term that follows the blood type. The term is positive or negative. This refers to the presence of another type of protein, called the Rh factor. A person with type B blood and has the Rh factor is called B-positive.

A person with type B blood and no Rh factor is called B-negative.

The reason this is so important is that if an Rh- mother has an Rh+ fetus in her womb (from an Rh+ father), her antibodies will attack the red blood cells of the fetus because her body detects the Rh protein on the babys red blood cells and thinks they are foreign objects. This is called Hemolytic Disease of the Newborn (HDN).

This can be prevented if the doctor knows the mother is Rh- and the fat