Whole Blood Viscosity

Whole Blood Viscosity for family doctors, primary care physicians, and general practitioners.

Abnormal blood viscosity test results will alert and direct a doctor to initiate an immediate clinical evaluation. This will contribute to an early preliminary differential diagnosis.

A whole blood viscosity measurement indicates how easily the blood flows through the arteries, capillaries, and veins. An elevated blood viscosity will force the heart to work harder to pump the vital oxygen bearing blood to organs and body tissues.

Whole blood is composed of red blood cells (erythrocytes), white blood cells (leucocytes), platelets (thrombocytes) and plasma. Haematocrit is the percentage by volume of red cells in blood and comprises about 45% of the volume.

Red blood cells have the most significant impact on whole blood viscosity. The relationship between red cell deformability, red cell aggregation and the shear rate significantly impacts the viscosity of blood and its resistance to flow.

A whole blood viscosity measured at a single shear is a quick, simple, inexpensive test that can offer valuable insights for the diagnosis and management of vascular diseases.

Automated clinical viscometers use a controlled force in the form of a regulated vacuum to aspirate approximately 50µl to 80µl of blood sample, less than two drops through a calibrated capillary tube to accurately determine the viscosity of a patient’s blood sample.

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