Blood hyperviscosity in acute and recent COVID-19 infection

Aleesha Shaik, Qinzhong Chen, Phyu Mar, Hyoungsup Kim, Priscilla Mejia, Hannah Pacheco, Sascha N. Goonewardena, Daniel J. Cho, Robert S. Rosenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Elevated estimated blood viscosity (EBV), derived from hematocrit and globulins, is associated with thrombotic complications, organ failure, and higher mortality in COVID-19 patients. Although informative, EBV does not account for cellular interactions or fibrinogen. OBJECTIVE: Investigate whether patients with acute and recent COVID-19 have altered whole blood viscosity (WBV) when measured at both high and low shear rates using in vitro blood samples from patients. METHODS: Cross-sectional study of 58 patients: 15 in the intensive care unit with acute COVID-19, 32 convalescent (9 < 8weeks [W] from acute infection, 23 > 8 W), and 11 controls without COVID-19. WBV was measured at high (300 s-1) and low (5 s-1) shear rates (HSR, LSR) using a scanning capillary viscometer. RESULTS Acute and convalescent patients < 8 W had mean WBV at LSR (16.0 centipoise [cP] and 15.1 cP) and HSR (5.1 cP and 4.7 cP). Mean WBV of convalescent > 8 W and control patients were 12.3 cP and 13.0 cP at LSR, and 4.1 cP and 4.2 cP at HSR. Acute and < 8 W patients had significantly higher WBV at both HSR and LSR compared to patients > 8 W (all p≤0.01). No significant differences in WBV were observed between acute and < 8 W patients, or between patients > 8 W and controls. CONCLUSIONS: Hyperviscosity provides a possible explanation for thrombotic risk in acute and convalescent (< 8 W) patients. These findings have important implications for thromboprophylaxis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-155
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Hemorheology and Microcirculation
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022


  • Anticoagulation
  • COVID-19
  • blood viscosity
  • convalescent
  • thrombosis


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