Red Blood Cell Survival in Patients with Aortic Valvular Disease and Ball-Valve Prostheses
Red blood cell survival was determined in patients with aortic valvular disease, postoperative patients with aortic valvular ball-valve prostheses and postoperative patients with multiple ball-valve prostheses. The red blood cell survival was reduced in the majority of patients in each group when compared with the red blood cell survival from a normal control group.
A detailed analysis of the survival curves suggested that in many patients there was more than one population of red blood cells. The first population displayed rapid random destruction. This population was not present in normal persons in the control group. The second population showed the usual decline in radioactivity due to random destruction and loss of the red cell label due to elution. The shortened red blood cell survival in some patients was due to a large percentage of the first population of randomly destroyed red blood cells, in other patients to an accelerated rate of destruction of the usual single population of cells while others had a combination of the two mechanisms.
A mechanism of mechanical hemolysis due to increased intracardiac turbulence was suggested as a cause for the shortened survival. When the turbulence was increased by a leak around the aortic or mitral valve prosthesis the red blood cell survival was found to be further decreased. In some cases this reduction in survival was enough to produce hemolytic anemia.
The Coombs antiglobulin test was positive in three patients. The suggestion was made that the development of autoantibodies to red blood cells was secondary to increased destruction of red blood cells.
- © 1965 American Heart Association, Inc.