BACKGROUND: Artificial oxygen carriers such as perfluorocarbon (PFC) emulsions have reached Phase III clinical trials as alternatives to homologous blood, but their rheologic effects have not been characterized. In this study, the rheologic effects of PFC emulsion in the presence of clinically used volume expanders were investigated.
STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: The effects of a new PFC emulsion (small droplet size with narrow size distribution) at two PFC concentrations (4 and 8 g/dL) on plasma and whole-blood viscosity in the presence of human albumin solution (HAS), hydroxyethyl starch (HES), or modified fluid gelatin (MFG) were investigated. Three hematocrit (Hct) levels were investigated: 30, 20, and 13 percent. Plasma, PFC emulsions, and whole-blood viscosity, with a Couette viscometer, and RBC elongation, with an ektacytometer, were measured for shear rates of 0.2 to 128 per second.
RESULTS: The two PFC concentrations increased plasma and whole-blood viscosities. Viscosity values similar to physiologic ones (Hct level, 40%) were observed at: 1) Hct level of 13 percent, with 4 or 8 g per dL MFG-PFC; 2) Hct level of 20 percent, with 4 g per dL MFG-PFC; and 3) Hct level of 30 percent, with 4 g per dL HES-PFC and 4 and 8 g per dL HAS-PFC. RBC deformability was unchanged.
CONCLUSION: It is concluded that this new PFC emulsion increases plasma and blood viscosity and that among the three studied volume expanders, the interaction with MFG can result in viscosity values above the physiologic one even at low Hct values. The possible consequences of the increased viscosity at low Hct values are discussed.