The lysis or the breaking open of red blood cell (erythrocyte) causing the release of hemoglobin into the surrounding fluid.
Hemolysis has several causes: examples are exposure of erythrocytes to toxins and poisons, bacterial haemolysins, immune reactions like specific complement-fixing antibodies, hypotonicity, alteration of temperature, treatments such as hemodialysis, etc.
Word origin: from the Greek hemo-, meaning blood + –lysis, meaning to break open.
Also spelled as: hemolysis.
Related forms: haemolytic (adjective).
See also: hemolysin.