Whole blood viscosity: Effect of hemodialysis treatment and implications for access patency and vascular disease

Promila Dhar, Michael Eadon, Patrick Hallak, Ramon Augustine Munoz, Mary Hammes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations


Background: Hemodialysis patients have increased mortality from cardiovascular complications. Whole blood viscosity (WBV) and red cell aggregation (RCA) may influence the pathogenesis of vascular complications in this population. The objective of this study was to determine whether the hemodialysis treatment or vascular complications were associated with impaired WBV or RCA. Methods: This prospective, cross sectional investigation included 38 patients receiving chronic hemodialysis. Blood samples for WBV, RCA and hematocrit were drawn before and after dialysis. WBV was determined between 10 and 780 s-1 and RCA was measured by calculating aggregate shape parameter. WBV and RCA were subsequently assessed for correlation with a history of vascular disease. Results: The mean WBV, aggregate shape parameter, and hematocrit post-dialysis were significantly higher than pre-dialysis values (p < 0.05). Using a linear model with WBV as the dependent variable, the covariates of aggregate shape parameter, hematocrit, weight, and history of diabetes were not significant. However, pre/post timing of the sample was a significant covariate. WBV correlated with prior access thrombosis or stenosis, especially if the patient had a history of peripheral vascular disease. Conclusions: Higher WBV correlated with an increased incidence of access failure and vascular disease. Repetitive increases in WBV and RCA with each dialysis treatment could contribute to vascular dysfunction in this patient population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-275
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Hemorheology and Microcirculation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 10 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Access failure
  • end stage renal disease
  • hemodialysis
  • red cell aggregation
  • vascular disease
  • viscosity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hematology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)

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