Chronic blood hyperviscosity in subjects with acute stroke, transient ischemic attack, and risk factors for stroke

Bruce M. Coull, Nancy Beamer, Patricia De Garmo, Gary Sexton, Frank Nordt, Robert Knox, Geoffrey V.F. Seaman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

161 Scopus citations


The origin and significance of blood hyperviscosity in subjects with acute stroke has been controversial. It has been argued that viscous abnormalities simply reflect either elevated hematocnt or an acute-phase response to the stroke itself. To address these issues, we measured the factors that determine blood viscosity in a cross-sectional study of 430 subjects, including 135 with acute stroke, 89 with acute transient ischemic attacks of the brain, 115 with recognized risk factors for stroke, and 91 healthy controls. The at-risk group was balanced with the acute stroke group for types of risk factors and medication usage, and all four groups were balanced for age. The viscosity of whole blood at low rates of shear and the plasma viscosity were significantly elevated in both groups with cerebro vascular symptoms and in the at-risk group compared with the healthy controls. The severity of hyperviscosity was stroke group> transient ischemic attack group>at-riskgroup>healthy controls. Increased viscosity of whole blood was associated with an elevated plasma fibrinogen concentration and with a decreased albumin/globulin ratio. This study provides evidence that blood hyperviscosity is present not only in subjects with acute brain infarction, but also in those with risk factors for stroke, and that these abnormalities are, to a considerable degree, chronic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-168
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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