Anemia of renal failure is primarily a problem of decreased RBC production due to erythropoietin deficiency. RBC survival is also reduced, perhaps due to decreased RBC deformability. This study measured blood viscosity over a range of shear rates in erythropoietin-treated patients on hemodialysis (HD), and compared the findings to matched patients with chronic renal insufficiency (CRI) and healthy controls.
Four groups (control, CRI, non-diabetic HD, and diabetic HD) of 9 matched subjects were recruited. Blood viscosity was measured using a cone-plate viscometer over a variety of shear rates (11 to 225 s(-1)).
Control subjects had lower viscosity values throughout all shear rates when compared to the 3 renal disease groups (P value=0.039). A trend was observed to higher levels of renal function being associated with decreased blood viscosity in patients with CRI.
Patients with kidney disease have increased blood viscosity at all shear rates. This may be related to changes in RBC shape and decreased deformability in patients with kidney disease, independent of HD- or DM-status. This may have implications for strategies to treat anemia in these patients.