Association of Blood Viscosity With Mortality Among Patients Hospitalized With COVID-19

Daein Choi, Ori Waksman, Aleesha Shaik, Phyu Mar, Qinzhong Chen, Daniel J. Cho, Hyoung Sup Kim, Robin L. Smith, Sascha N. Goonewardena, Robert S. Rosenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) is characterized by a dysfunctional immune response and abnormal blood rheology that contribute to endothelial dysfunction and thrombotic complications. Whole blood viscosity (WBV) is a clinically validated measure of blood rheology and an established predictor of cardiovascular risk. We hypothesize that increased WBV is associated with mortality among patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Objectives: This study sought to determine the association between estimated BV (eBV) and mortality among hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Methods: The study population included 5,621 hospitalized COVID-19 patients at the Mount Sinai Health System from February 27, 2020, to November 27, 2021. eBV was calculated using the Walburn-Schneck model. Multivariate Cox proportional hazards models were used to evaluate the association between eBV and mortality. Considered covariates included age, sex, race, cardiovascular and metabolic comorbidities, in-house pharmacotherapy, and baseline inflammatory biomarkers. Results: Estimated high-shear BV (eHSBV) and estimated low-shear BV were associated with increased in-hospital mortality. One-centipoise increases in eHSBV and estimated low-shear BV were associated with a 36.0% and 7.0% increase in death, respectively (P < 0.001). Compared with participants in the lowest quartile of eHSBV, those in the highest quartile of eHSBV had higher mortality (adjusted HR: 1.53; 95% CI: 1.27-1.84). The association was consistent among multiple subgroups, notably among patients without any comorbidities (adjusted HR: 1.69; 95% CI: 1.28-2.22). Conclusions: Among hospitalized COVID-19 patients, increased eBV is significantly associated with higher mortality. This suggests that eBV can prognosticate patient outcomes in earlier stages of COVID-19, and that future therapeutics aimed at reducing WBV should be evaluated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-328
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 26 Jul 2022


  • COVID-19
  • blood viscosity
  • cardiovascular disease
  • mortality
  • rheology epidemiology


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