Whole blood viscosity is associated with baseline cerebral perfusion in acute ischemic stroke

Neurol Sci. 2021 Oct 20. doi: 10.1007/s10072-021-05666-5. Online ahead of print.


Whole blood viscosity (WBV) is the intrinsic resistance to flow developed due to the frictional force between adjacent layers of flowing blood. Elevated WBV is an independent risk factor for stroke. Poor microcirculation due to elevated WBV can prevent adequate perfusion of the brain and might act as an important secondary factor for hypoperfusion in acute ischaemic stroke. In the present study, we examined the association of WBV with basal cerebral perfusion assessed by CT perfusion in acute ischaemic stroke. Confirmed acute ischemic stroke patients (n = 82) presenting in hours were recruited from the single centre. Patients underwent baseline multimodal CT (non-contrast CT, CT angiography and CT perfusion). Where clinically warranted, patients also underwent follow-up DWI. WBV was measured in duplicate within 2 h after sampling from 5-mL EDTA blood sample. WBV was significantly correlated with CT perfusion parameters such as perfusion lesion volume, ischemic core volume and mismatch ratio; DWI volume and baseline NIHSS. In a multivariate linear regression model, WBV significantly predicted acute perfusion lesion volume, core volume and mismatch ratio after adjusting for the effect of occlusion site and collateral status. Association of WBV with hypoperfusion (increased perfusion lesion volume, ischaemic core volume and mismatch ratio) suggest the role of erythrocyte rheology in cerebral haemodynamic of acute ischemic stroke. The present findings open new possibilities for therapeutic strategies targeting erythrocyte rheology to improve cerebral microcirculation in stroke.

Keywords: CT perfusion; Stroke; Whole blood viscosity.