Eighteen patients with severe Raynaud's syndrome had impaired deformability of erythrocytes, as measured by filtration through 5 micron diameter pores, compared with 19 healthy controls. The patients were given prostaglandin E1 (PGE1) or placebo by intravenous infusion for 72 h to assess the haemorrheological action of PGE1. Contrary to a previous report, PGE1 did not improve erythrocyte filterability. Infusion of PGE1 did, however, evoke an acute phase response with hyperproteinaemia and a leucocytosis and is a potentially important mediator of this stress response in patients with vascular disease.
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