Effect of shear rate variation on apparent viscosity of human blood in tubes of 29 to 94 microns diameter.
In order to test the hypothesis that the increase of vascular resistance observed in vivo at low flow rates is due in part to blood rheological properties, the apparent viscosity of human blood was measured in small tubes in a range of shear rates. Pressure-flow relationships were obtained in vertical glass tubes (29 to 94 microns i.d.) perfused with blood at hematocrits between 0.13 and 0.65. Viscosity of blood and plasma was calculated using Poiseuille's law. With the exception of data obtained in the largest tube at a hematocrit of 0.6, relative blood viscosity was found to be independent of shear rate in the range between 1 and 120 s-1. Microscopic observation revealed pronounced red cell aggregation at low shear rates. Velocity profiles obtained by the use of fluorescence-labelled red cells showed increased blunting with decreasing shear rate. The Fahraeus-Lindqvist effect was evident in a reduction of viscosity with tube size at a given feed hematocrit. The observed constancy of apparent blood viscosity with decreasing shear is attributed to the opposing effects of a cell-depleted marginal layer and red cell aggregation or deformation in the cell core. The findings indicate that the increase of vascular resistance at low arterial pressure cannot be explained by shear-dependent changes of apparent blood viscosity observed in macroviscometers.
- Copyright © 1986 by American Heart Association