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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 10  |  Page : 457-460

Whole blood viscosity issues VI: Association with blood salicylate level and gastrointestinal bleeding

Western Pathology Cluster NSW Health, South West Pathology Service; 590 Smollett Street Albury, NSW, Australia

Correspondence Address:
Ezekiel Uba Nwose
South West Pathology Service, 590 Smollett Street, Albury, NSW 2640
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Background : This series on whole blood viscosity issues has been trying to elucidate the sensitivity, specificity and usefulness of the laboratory parameter in clinical practice. The postulation has been that since antiplatelet is used in the management of stasis, of which blood viscosity is an index, the latter would be useful laboratory indication and/or contraindication. Aim : The aim of this study was to observe whether blood level of acetylsalicylic acid differs with the level of whole blood viscosity. Patients and Methods : Out of the ten years database, 538 cases that were concomitantly tested for haematocrit, total proteins and blood level of salicylate were selected for this study. A separate nine cases of positive faecal occult blood tests were audited for blood viscosity and reviewed. Results : A statistically significant difference is observed with lower blood viscosity being associated with higher salicylate level in comparison of the former between the highest vs. lowest quartiles (p < 0.002). This observation demonstrates the effect of aspirin in lowering blood stasis. Reviewing the positive faecal occult blood cases indicate that gastrointestinal bleeding is characterized by relative hypoviscosity and that hyperviscosity is not present during bleeding complications. Conclusion : The findings affirm that whole blood viscosity is a valid clinical laboratory parameter for evidence-based contraindication, indication and monitoring of antiplatelet medication. It calls for better appreciation and clinical utility of whole blood viscosity, which (in the absence of viscometer) can now be extrapolated from haematocrit and total proteins.

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