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Peripheral blood (MGG stain): patient with hemolytic-uremic syndrome

A schistocyte or schizocyte (from Greek schistos for "divided" or schistein for "to split", and kytos for "hollow" or "cell") is a fragmented part of a red blood cell. Schistocytes are typically irregularly shaped, jagged, and have two pointed ends. A true schistocyte does not have central pallor.[1] Schistocytes are sometimes referred to as "helmet cells".

Several microangiopathic diseases, including disseminated intravascular coagulation and thrombotic microangiopathies, generate fibrin strands that sever red blood cells as they try to move past a thrombus, creating schistocytes.

Schistocytes are often seen in patients with hemolytic anemia. They are frequently a consequence of mechanical artificial heart valves and hemolytic uremic syndrome, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, among other causes.

Excessive schistocytes present in blood can be a sign of microangiopathic hemolytic anemia (MAHA) where the most common cause is aortic stenosis.


  1. ^ Amanda Cox et al., Schistocytes: A Brief Overview. Retrieved 23 August 2008.

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