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Eur J Clin Invest. 2005 Nov;35(11):687-90.

Erythrocyte transport efficacy of human blood: a rheological point of view.

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University of Pecs, Pecs, Hungary.



Large-scale epidemiological studies have demonstrated that both anaemia and polycytaemia are independent cardiovascular risk factors. This was substantiated by the Framingham study, which demonstrated a U-shaped relation between haemoglobin concentration and mortality. It was previously noted that delineating the corresponding haematocrit/blood viscosity ratios in the function of haematocrit provided a distribution of an inverted U-shaped curve. The peak appeared physiologically important because it denotes a healthy balance between a relatively high oxygen binding capacity and a moderately low blood viscosity. It was the aim of this study to examine the mathematical relationship between the haematocrit and haematocrit/blood viscosity ratio.


In a retrospective study, the haemorheological data of 32 healthy controls, 52 outpatients with hyperlipidaemia and 120 outpatients with Raynaud's disease were analyzed. Whole blood viscosity was measured with Hevimet 40 capillary viscometer at 37.0 degrees C and at shear rates of 10 s(-1), 90 s(-1) and 200 s(-1).


Haematocrit/blood viscosity ratios in the function of haematocrit values showed a Gaussian association in the healthy subjects, hyperlipidaemic and Raynaud's disease outpatient groups. Peak values (i.e. the rheologically optimal haematocrit) were shear-rate and group dependent and were found at 44.3%, 43.5% and 38.3% in controls, hyperlipidaemic and Raynaud's disease patients, respectively, at a shear rate of 90 s(-1).


This is one of the first reports in which a theoretically optimal haematocrit value was determined using the haematocrit/blood viscosity ratio. Further studies are needed to examine the potential clinical usefulness of this approach.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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