Ovalocytes/elliptocytes are oval or elliptical red blood cells that range in shape from slightly egg-shaped to rod or pencil forms. They have normal central pallor with the hemoglobin concentrated at the ends of the elongated cells. The ends of the cells are blunt and not sharp like sickle cells.
A rare ovalocyte/elliptocyte (less than 1%) may be found on almost any peripheral blood smear. However, when they comprise more than 25% of the red blood cells on the blood smear, hereditary elliptocytosis (HE) is probable.
In most cases, patients are asymptomatic while having normal red blood cell life spans, although a mild anemia may occur. Resistance to malarial infection may be a beneficial attribute of HE.