Oxygen Exchange in Hereditary Spherocytosis (HS)

By William Aird

It has been shown that patients with HS have a subpopulation of spherocytes with greatly impaired gas exchange, primarily owing to increased diffusion pathlength. Other factors include:

  • Increased Hb crowding (MCHC)
  • Reduced surface area: volume ratio

These slowly exchanging spherocytes are accentuated in the compensated state (talk about a trade-off!). These findings raise interesting questions about how splenectomy affects gas handling by RBCs in HS.