Microrheological Aspects: Their Crucial Role in Multiple Organ Failure

  • Leopold Dintenfass


Sequential breakdown in a number of crucial organs, such as the heart, kidneys, lungs, liver or brain, may take place over a span of seconds or many weeks. The crucial parameter in such a breakdown will be blood rheology, or more exactly, hyperviscosity of blood. Blood hyperviscosity can be due to elevation of anyone of the blood viscosity factors: elevation of plasma viscosity, elevation of packed cell volume (Haematocrit), elevation of the degree of aggregation of red cells (and especially the presence of large compact clumps of red cells), increase in the internal viscosity and rigidity of red cells, increase in the number and rigidity of the white cells, and presence of platelet aggregates. Blood hyperviscosity may be accompanied by an increase of the viscosity of whole blood, but it may be present in spite of normal or even decreased viscosity of whole blood when one of the viscosity factors is abnormally increased. The crucial role of blood hyperviscosity is especially apparent in the microcirculation. The effect of increased rigidity of blood cells or aggregates or clumps of blood cells, or the presence of microthrombi, microemboli or other products of blood coagulation is amplified by the “inversion phenomenon” in the microcapillary flow [1, 2].


Shear Rate Multiple Organ Failure Blood Viscosity Relative Viscosity Platelet Aggregate 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Tokyo 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leopold Dintenfass
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of MedicineUniversity of SydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Clinical Haemorheology DepartmentRachel Forster HospitalRedfernAustralia

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