*In Biorheology *

**BACKGROUND** : Measurement of abnormal Red Blood Cell (RBC) deformability is a main indicator of Sickle Cell Anemia (SCA) and requires standardized quantification methods. Ektacytometry is commonly used to estimate the fraction of Sickled Cells (SCs) by measuring the deformability of RBCs from laser diffraction patterns under varying shear stress. In addition to estimations from model comparisons, use of maximum Elongation Index differences (ΔEImax) at different laser intensity levels was recently proposed for the estimation of SC fractions.

**OBJECTIVE** : Implement a convolutional neural network to accurately estimate rigid-cell fraction and RBC concentration from laser diffraction patterns without using a theoretical model and eliminating the ektacytometer dependency for deformability measurements.

**METHODS** : RBCs were collected from control patients. Rigid-cell fraction experiments were performed using varying concentrations of glutaraldehyde. Serial dilutions were used for varying the concentration of RBC. A convolutional neural network was constructed using Python and TensorFlow.

**RESULTS** : Our measurements and model predictions show that a linear relationship between ΔEImax and rigid-cell fraction exists only for rigid-cell fractions less than 0.2. Our proposed neural network architecture can be used successfully for both RBC concentration and rigid-cell fraction estimations without a need for a theoretical model.

*Turgut Alper, Yalçin Özlem*

*2021-Jun-29*

**Ektacytometry, RBC, deep learning, neural network**