Hemolysis Meaning

What is Hemolysis? Hemolysis or Hemolysis is the destruction of RBC (red blood cells) and the discharge of their contents (cytoplasm) into surrounding fluid (e.g. blood plasma). Hemolysis or hemolysis might occur in vivo (inside) or in vitro (outside) of the body. One reason for Hemolysis is hemolysins' action, toxins produced by particular pathogenic bacteria or fungi. Another cause is excessive physical exercise. Hemolysins destroy the red blood cell's cytoplasmic membrane, inducing lysis and finally cell death. Hemolysis or hemolysis causes hemoglobinuria due to the release of hemoglobin into the blood plasma, which plays a significant role in sepsis pathogenesis. It can also lead to an increased risk of infection due to its inhibitory effects on the innate immune system.

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Breakdown of Red Blood Cells

The red blood cell (RBC) count is applied to measure the number of oxygen-carrying blood cells in a volume of blood. It is one of the important measures we use to determine how much oxygen is being transported to the body's cells. Hemolysis, the red blood cell breakdown process, is a test-dependent phenomenon and affects laboratory tests to varying degrees. Slight Hemolysis usually has little effect on test results, while more superior Hemolysis mainly demands a recollection, as results are grossly affected. 


Blood samples with a slight breakdown of red blood cells may be used for testing. Red blood cell breakdown is a natural method, as red blood cells typically live for 110 to 120 days and then depreciate. The breakdown of the red blood cell in the patient can be caused by many including toxins, infirmities, anaemia, hemodialysis, and antigen-antibody reactions. 


Haemolysis Disease

In disease, Haemolysis meaning is associated with hemolytic anaemia. It is a dysfunction in which red blood cells are destroyed quicker than they can be made. This destruction of RBC is called Hemolysis. Increased or accelerated Hemolysis reduces the lifespan of red blood cells, causing them to die instantly than the bone marrow can replace them. The causes of hemolytic anaemia may be natural or extrinsic. The natural cause includes inherited deficiencies in red blood cells, such as sickle cell anaemia, hereditary spherocytosis, and thalassemia.


The extrinsic disease is caused by antibodies that attack and destroy red blood cells, such as in paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria, or by other factors that result in the destruction of red blood cells, including chemicals, infections, trauma, venoms, or the toxic products of microorganisms. In an infant, hemolytic disease (erythroblastosis fetalis) occurs when a mismatch in antibody congeniality between maternal blood and fetal results in the destruction of fetal red blood cells by maternal antibodies that pass the placenta.


Classification of Hemolysis

Hemolysis can be categorized according to whether the Hemolysis is Extrinsic, i.e., from a source outside the red blood cell or Intrinsic, i.e., due to a defect within the red cell. The causes of disorders extrinsic to the RBC include Drugs, Immunologic abnormalities, Infections, Mechanical injury, Reticuloendothelial hyperactivity, and Toxins. Infectious organisms may induce hemolytic anaemia through toxins' direct action by invasion and destruction of the RBC by the organism (e.g., Plasmodium species, Bartonella species, Babesia species) or by antibody production (e.g., Epstein-Barr virus, mycoplasma). 


Intrinsic Hemolysis is due to defects within the red blood cells, their membranes, the structure of haemoglobin, or the metabolism of the cell. The resultant anomalies may include hemoglobinopathies, cell membrane-related disorder, a disorder related to hereditary reasons, and disorders of metabolism of RBC. Also, certain RBC membrane-related proteins such as ankyrin, protein 4.1, alpha- and beta spectrin, F-actin can have an abnormality of functional and quantitative nature, resulting in hemolytic anaemia.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. Define Hemolysis.

Answer: Hemolysis definition is preceded by understanding the process of formation of red blood cells. The bone marrow is the factory where red blood cells are produced. The red blood cells stay alive for nearly 120 days before dying naturally. Hemolysis is the process of unnatural destruction of red blood cells. It results in the imbalance of red blood cells in the bloodstream. This is also known as hemolytic anaemia and is of two types. One is called intrinsic hemolytic anaemia, and the other is called extrinsic hemolytic anaemia. In the first kind defective red blood cells are produced, and in the second kindred blood cells in a healthy state are being destroyed by the spleen or by different forms of health disorders.

Q2. Define the Term Extravascular Hemolysis.

Answer: Extravascular Hemolysis refers to Hemolysis that transpires in the bone marrow, liver, spleen, and lymph nodes. It results in hemoglobinuria when the amount of haemoglobin released into plasma exceeds the plasma binding. In this state, little haemoglobin escapes into the blood plasma. The macrophages of the reticuloendothelial system in these organs cover and damage structurally defective red blood cells, or those with antibodies attached, release unconjugated bilirubin into the blood plasma circulation. Typically, the spleen destroys mildly irregular red blood cells or cells covered with IgG-type antibodies, while severely abnormal red blood cells covered with IgM-type antibodies are destroyed in the liver's circulation.