The Red Cell as a Risk Factor in Circulatory Diseases
The vitally essential function of the red cell distributing oxygen through the body has perhaps stopped us from appreciating that the red cells may also represent a risk factor predisposing to circulatory insufficiency. Our recent interest and increasing knowledge of the rheological or flow properties of blood has shown that this risk to the circulation may be manifested in two different ways: by an increase in the whole blood viscosity associated with a raised concentration of red cells, and by a maldistribution of flow in the microcirculation due to increased rigidity of the red cells. The second of these mechanisms is much more speculative.
KeywordsBlood Viscosity Circulatory Disease Preoperative Haemoglobin High Haematocrit Circulatory Insufficiency
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