Forty patients with atherosclerotic peripheral vascular disease, as compared to 29 healthy controls, showed a significant increase in platelet number and activity, a neutrophil leucocytosis, and a raised level of several acute-phase reactant proteins (fibrinogen, antithrombin III, factor VIII, and serum globulin). The hyperproteinaemia was associated with increases in plasma-, serum-, and blood-viscosity and is the likely cause of the hyperviscosity of vascular disease. These multiple haemostatic abnormalities closely resemble the non-specific, haematological stress-syndrome response to acute and chronic inflammatory disorders. In atherosclerosis also they may represent a non-specific, secondary response and neither be of aetiological significance nor reflect continuing low-grade intravascular coagulation.
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