Contribution of Red Blood Cells and Platelets to Blood Clot Computed Tomography Imaging and Compressive Mechanical Characteristics

Rachel M. E. Cahalane, Janneke M. H. Cruts, Heleen M. M. van Beusekom, Moniek P. M. de Maat, Marcel Dijkshoorn, Aad van der Lugt, Frank J. H. Gijsen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Thrombus computed tomography (CT) imaging characteristics may correspond with thrombus mechanical properties and thus predict thrombectomy success. The impact of red blood cell (RBC) content on these properties (imaging and mechanics) has been widely studied. However, the additional effect of platelets has not been considered. The objective of the current study was to examine the individual and combined effects of blood clot RBC and platelet content on resultant CT imaging and mechanical characteristics. Human blood clot analogues were prepared from a combination of preselected RBC volumes and platelet concentrations to decouple their contributions. The resulting clot RBC content (%) and platelet content (%) were determined using Martius Scarlet Blue and CD42b staining, respectively. Non-contrast and contrast-enhanced CT (NCCT and CECT) scans were performed to measure the clot densities. CECT density increase was taken as a proxy for clinical perviousness. Unconfined compressive mechanics were analysed by performing 10 cycles of 80% strain. RBC content is the major determinant of clot NCCT density. However, additional consideration of the platelet content improves the association. CECT density increase is influenced by clot platelet and not RBC content. Platelet content is the dominant component driving clot stiffness, especially at high strains. Both RBC and platelet content contribute to the clot's viscoelastic and plastic compressive properties. The current in vitro results suggest that CT density is reflective of RBC content and subsequent clot viscoelasticity and plasticity, and that perviousness reflects the clot's platelet content and subsequent stiffness. However, these indications should be confirmed in a clinical stroke cohort.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
Early online date25 Apr 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Apr 2024

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