The relative influence of hematocrit and red blood cell velocity on oxygen transport from capillaries to tissue

Adrien Lücker, Timothy W. Secomb, Bruno Weber, Patrick Jenny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Objective: Oxygen transport to parenchymal cells occurs mainly at the microvascular level and depends on convective RBC flux, which is proportional in an individual capillary to the product of capillary hematocrit and RBC velocity. This study investigates the relative influence of these two factors on tissue PO2. Methods: A simple analytical model is used to quantify the respective influences of hematocrit, RBC velocity, and RBC flow on tissue oxygenation around capillaries. Predicted tissue PO2 levels are compared with a detailed computational model. Results: Hematocrit is shown to have a larger influence on tissue PO2 than RBC velocity. The effect of RBC velocity increases with distance from the arterioles. Good agreement between analytical and numerical results is obtained, and the discrepancies are explained. Significant dependence of MTCs on RBC velocity at low hematocrit is demonstrated. Conclusions: For a given RBC flux in a capillary, the PO2 in the surrounding tissue increases with increasing hematocrit, as a consequence of decreasing IVR to diffusive oxygen transport from RBCs to tissue. These results contribute to understanding the effects of blood flow changes on oxygen transport, such as those that occur in functional hyperemia in the brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12337
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2017


  • blood flow
  • mathematical modeling
  • tissue oxygenation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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