A rheological study of 32 patients with peripheral occlusive arterial disease (POAD), compared with 32 matched healthy controls, has shown no loss of erythrocyte deformability as measured by filtration methods (using initial flow rate and positive pressure instruments, polycarbonate and silver membranes, and 3 microns and 5 microns diameter pores) or by viscometry (using laser visco-diffractometric and high shear rate viscosity methods). Erythrocyte ATP concentration in POAD was also normal. Patients with POAD showed a small (4 fl) increase in mean erythrocyte volume, associated with a raised serum gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase concentration, which correlated with erythrocyte filtration and viscometric measurements. Previous reports of impaired blood filterability in POAD probably reflect the effects of accompanying leucocytosis, plasma hyperfibrinogenaemia, or an increase in erythrocyte size, but not an intrinsic loss of erythrocyte deformability.
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