Teardrop Cells

By William Aird

Teardrop cell (arrow) from a 68-year-old woman with cirrhosis (100x, oil).

Multiple teardrop forms (some examples are shown with blue arrow) in a 76-year-old woman with myelofibrosis. Note that the “tails” of the teardrops all point in different directions, have blunt tips, and the same degree of hemoglobinization as the remaining parts of the red cell (100x, oil).
Red blood cell, shape abnormalityTeardrop cell
Also known asDacrocyte, tailed poikilocyte
DefinitionRed cells appearing in the shape of a teardrop or a pear with a single short or long tail. True tear drops have blunted tips and point in different directions.
DdxSmear artifact
Conditions associated with the shape abnormalityAssociated with infiltrative processes in the bone marrow, including fibrosis, metastatic disease, granulomas. Also conditions with abnormally large red cells like megaloblastic anemia.
Mechanism of formationRigid splenic or marrow sinusoids where red cells are distorted in their passage or abnormally large red cells that distort in their passage.
HistoryFirst named in mid-1950s
Source/AuthorWilliam Aird
Reviewed and edited byParul Bhargava