HematologyOutlines - Atlas
Blood/Blood Cells and Cellular Components ›› Red Blood Cells ›› Abnormal

Spur cell RBC (Acanthocyte)*

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Microscopic Features:
  • May be smaller or the size of a normal RBC
  • Irregular narrow-base sharp projections of red cell membrane (looking like cowboy boot spurs)
Normal % blood-PB, marrow-BM, lymphoid tissue-LN:
  • PB: Rare to None
  • BM: Rare to None
  • LN: Rare to None
May Resemble:
  • Burr cell
  • Schistocyte
  • Spherocyte
  • Normal Mature RBC
Differential Diagnoses:

Increased in:
End stage Liver disease (Cirrhosis)
McLeod or Lu blood group phenotype
Microangiopathic Hemolytic Anemia (as seen in DIC, TTP and HUS)

Classic Immunophenotype:
  • N/A
Cartoon Image:

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  • Rare Spur cells may be seen in a blood smear which may be due to the very old RBCs that are reaching their end of life. (Note: life span of an RBC is ~ 4 months)