Purpose. The aim of the study was to assess the in vitro potency of pentoxifylline (PTX) and one of its most active metabolites lisofylline (LSF) to improve rheological properties of red blood cells (RBC) from healthy individuals and patients with chronic venous disease (CVD). Additionally, the study aimed to compare the effects of PTX and LSF on RBC deformability and aggregation. Methods. Blood samples were collected from healthy volunteers (antecubital vein) and from CVD patients (varicose and antecubital vein). Deformability and aggregation of RBC were assessed using Laser-assisted Optical Rotational Cell Analyser (LORCA). Results. PTX and LSF increased RBC elongation significantly. Additionally, RBC incubation with PTX resulted in a marked decrease in RBC aggregation. PTX reduced the tendency towards the formation of RBC aggregates and of their stability. The beneficial effect of PTX on RBC aggregation was most apparent for those cells whose aggregation tendency and aggregate stability was the greatest. Conclusions. In vitro addition of PTX or LSF effectively increased deformability of RBC from healthy donors and patients with CVD. Thus, LSF may contribute to the in vivo hemorheological effects of pentoxifylline. On the other hand, there was no significant effect of LSF on aggregation of RBC in vitro. Hence, LSF has no contribution to this particular effect of PTX. Additionally, the present study demonstrated the use of RBC with impaired deformability and aggregation for the evaluation of in vitro rheological activity of xenobiotics.