Concerning a role of blood rheology for atherosclerosis in patients with hemodialysis (HD), little data are available. It may be due to the fact that the method for evaluating rheologic properties of circulating blood has been limited. We examined blood rheology in 118 HD patients by using microchannel array flow analyzer that makes it possible to directly observe the flow of blood cell elements through the microchannel. Transit time (TB) of heparinized whole blood through slit pores (7 × 30 μm) was used as an index of rheology and related with various inflammatory biomarkers such as high-sensitive CRP (hsCRP), monocyte chemotactic protein-1, osteopontin, or fibrinogen (Fg). Moreover, as a surrogate marker of atherosclerosis, carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) and aortic stiffness evaluated by brachial-ankle pulse-wave velocity (baPWV) were studied. In HD patients, TB had strong positive correlations with hsCRP (r = 0.427; p < 0.00001), Fg (r = 0.452; p < 0.00001), and osteopontin (r = 0.227; p < 0.0134). Further, TB was significantly well correlated with IMT (r = 0.400; p < 0.0001) and PWV (r = 0.470; p < 0.0001). Multivariate regression analysis showed that baPWV, IMT, Fg, hematocrit, white blood cell count, and CRP were chosen as significant explanatory factors for TB. These results suggest that blood rheology may play an important role for atherosclerosis in patients with HD.
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