Blood Rheological Characterization of β-Thalassemia Trait and Iron Deficiency Anemia Using Front Microrheometry

Lourdes Méndez-Mora, Maria Cabello-Fusarés, Josep Ferré-Torres, Carla Riera-Llobet, Elena Krishnevskaya, Claudia Trejo-Soto, Salvador Payán-Pernía, Inés Hernández-Rodríguez, Cristian Morales-Indiano, Tomas Alarcón, Joan Lluis Vives-Corrons, Aurora Hernandez-Machado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The purpose of this work is to develop a hematocrit-independent method for the detection of beta-thalassemia trait (β-TT) and iron deficiency anemia (IDA), through the rheological characterization of whole blood samples from different donors. The results obtained herein are the basis for the development of a front microrheometry point-of-care device for the diagnosis and clinical follow-up of β-TT patients suffering hematological diseases and alterations in the morphology of the red blood cell (RBC). The viscosity is calculated as a function of the mean front velocity by detecting the sample fluid-air interface advancing through a microfluidic channel. Different viscosity curves are obtained for healthy donors, β-TT and IDA samples. A mathematical model is introduced to compare samples of distinct hematocrit, classifying the viscosity curve patterns with respect to the health condition of blood. The viscosity of the fluid at certain shear rate values varies depending on several RBC factors such as shape and size, hemoglobin (Hb) content, membrane rigidity and hematocrit concentration. Blood and plasma from healthy donors are used as reference. To validate their potential clinical value as a diagnostic tool, the viscosity results are compared to those obtained by the gold-standard method for RBC deformability evaluation, the Laser-Optical Rotational Red Cell Analyzer (LoRRCA).

Original languageEnglish
Article number761411
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
StatePublished - 21 Oct 2021


  • anemia
  • beta-thalassemia trait
  • blood rheology
  • hemorheology
  • iron deficiency (anemia)
  • microfluidics
  • microrheometer
  • rheology


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