Blood samples used in hemorheological studies may be stored for a period of time, the effects of storage have yet to be fully explored. This study evaluated the effects of storage temperature (i.e., 4 degrees C or 25 degrees C) and duration on RBC deformability and aggregation for blood from healthy controls and from septic patients. Our results indicate that for normal blood, RBC deformability over 0.3-50 Pa is stable up to six hours regardless of storage temperature; at eight hours there were no significant differences in EI but SS1/2 calculated via a Lineweaver-Burk method indicated impaired deformability. Storage temperature affected the stable period for RBC aggregation: the safe time was shorter at 25 degrees C whereas at 4 degrees C aggregation was stable up to 12 hours. Interestingly, blood samples from septic patients were less affected by storage. Blood can thus be stored at 25 degrees C for up to six hours for deformability studies, but should be limited to four hours for RBC aggregation; storage at 4 degrees C may prolong the storage period up to 12 hours for aggregation but not deformability measurements. Therefore, the time period between sampling and measurement should be as short as possible and reported together with results.