A serial rheological study in two patients with homozygous sickle cell disease whose leg ulcers healed as a consequence of bed rest showed an improvement in erythrocyte deformability (filterability) associated with evidence of decreased haemolysis and a fall in the number of irreversibly sickled cells. This rheological improvement may aid the healing of leg ulcers by increasing blood flow in the ulcer base. The effects of bed rest on the rheology of sickle cell disease should be taken into account in future studies of vaso-occlusive crisis.
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