Blood viscosity: influence of erythrocyte deformation

Science. 1967 Aug 18;157(3790):827-9. doi: 10.1126/science.157.3790.827.


Suspensions of canine and human erythocytes hardened with acetaldehyde differ from the suspensions of normal erythrocytes with respect to their rheological behavior. Normal erythrocytes can be packed by centrifugation so that the sediment volume is nearly 100 percent cells, but the hardened erythrocytes (RBC's) can be packed only to approximately 60 percent cells. At the same cell percentage the viscosity of the hardened RBC suspension is higher than that of the suspension of normal erythocytes. An increase in shear stress deforms the normal erythocytes and lowers the suspension viscosity, but has no influence on the viscosity of the hardened cell suspension. In blood with high cell percentages, the shear deformation of normal RBC's plays an important role in reducing viscosity and facilitating flow at high shear stresses.