Inter-species differences in hematocrit to blood viscosity ratio

N. Nemeth, T. Alexy, A. Furka, O. K. Baskurt, H. J. Meiselman, I. Furka, I. Miko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Hematocrit (Hct) is the major determinant of whole blood viscosity and of its oxygen binding capacity: with increasing Hct, viscosity increases exponentially and oxygen capacity increases linearly. Thus, the theoretical oxygen transport potential of blood, as indexed by the ratio of Hct to viscosity (Hct/viscosity), generally yields a curve concave to the Hct axis with a maximum at an "optimal hematocrit" value. This study analyzed relations between Hct, blood viscosity and shear rate for rats and dogs to explore whether different optima exist for Hct or Hct/viscosity. Our results reveal differences depending on both shear rate and species: at equal Hct, rats had higher blood viscosity and thus lower Hct/viscosity levels. Optimum values for Hct/viscosity were markedly different between the two species at shear rates of 90 and 200 s-1. Conversely, Hct/viscosity data at 10 s -1 did not exhibit an optimum but rather a linear decrease of the ratio with increasing hematocrit. Relations between Hct and blood viscosity thus differ among animal species. Inasmuch as animal studies are often utilized as an aid to understanding hemorheological aspects of clinical conditions and/or therapy, evaluating Hct/viscosity ratios may be a useful supplementary tool for research focused on various physiological and patho-physiological processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-165
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009


  • Blood viscosity
  • Dog
  • Inter-species differences
  • Optimal hematocrit
  • Rat


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