Tensile tests have been carried out to determine the failure strain of red blood cells. However, difficulties in reproducibly arise due to problems controlling the hold position of the cells during the test, which raises questions about the reliability of experimental data. Here, we investigate the effects of the hold position of the red blood cell on strain field during tensile testing using numerical simulations. Tensile tests were simulated in three hold positions. The results show significant variations in the deformed geometry of the red blood cell during the tensile test, as well as variations in strain distribution. Of the hold patterns examined, with an applied strain of 0.8, the misaligned stretch increased the maximum of the first principal strain by 65–85% in comparison to the aligned stretch. Although it would be ideal to precisely control the hold position and reproducibility, in practice this is not straightforward, and hence the effects of variations in the hold position should be considered when interpreting experimental data.

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