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  • Author: C. J. Slager x
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Red blood cell aggregation (RBCa) is a sensitive inflammation marker. RBCa determination from erythrocyte sedimentation rate, ESR, is used since long, but is unspecific unless corrected for hematocrit, Ht. Whole blood viscosity measurement at low shear rate is also sensitive to RBCa but is cumbersome to apply. To investigate whether electrical blood impedance, being sensitive to spatial red cell distribution, can be a good alternative to determine RBCa in low shear conditions. Blood was collected from 7 healthy volunteers. From each 16 different samples were prepared with 4 different Ht’s and with 4 different fibrinogen concentrations. Viscosity was measured at low shear rate (4.04 s-1) with a rotational viscometer at 37˚C. Electrical blood impedance was measured during similar shear conditions and temperature in a specially designed cuvette. ESR was determined according to Westergren. A logarithmic increase of viscosity as well as of capacitance, Cm, is seen when fibrinogen rises and an exponential increase when Ht rises. However, ESR shows a logarithmic decrease with increasing Ht and an exponential increase when fibrinogen rises. The viscosity could be accurately described using an exponential model. Under similar low shear conditions and temperature in-vitro, either whole blood viscosity or electrical blood capacitance reflect red blood cell aggregation due to fibrinogen and Ht variation in a similar way.