The aim of this study was to evaluate hemorheologic variables in patients with acute coronary syndromes in relation to the occurrence of ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). In 370 consecutive patients with acute coronary syndromes, 215 with STEMIs and 155 with non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarctions or unstable angina pectoris, who underwent percutaneous coronary intervention, hemorheologic studies were performed by assessing whole-blood viscosity (at shear rates of 0.512 and 94.5 s(-1)), plasma viscosity, and erythrocyte deformability index. A significant difference in hematocrit and in whole-blood viscosity at 0.512 s(-1) was found between the 2 groups of patients. Hematocrit at admission in the highest tertile compared with the lowest tertile remained independently associated with the occurrence of STEMI on multivariate analysis adjusted for traditional cardiovascular risk factors, previous coronary artery disease, multivessel disease, bleeding complications, and leukocyte count. In conclusion, erythrocyte concentration seems to play a role per se in the occurrence of STEMI and complete coronary artery occlusion and might be considered in stratifying high-risk cardiovascular patients and as a possible therapeutic target in patients presenting with acute coronary syndromes.