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      The possible role of hemorheology in atherothrombogenesis.


      Arteriosclerosis, physiopathology, Blood Flow Velocity, Blood Viscosity, Erythrocyte Deformability, Hemostasis, Humans, Rheology, Thrombosis, Vascular Resistance

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          Conventional risk factors predict only about 30-50% of incidental cases in cardiovascular diseases, which are still the leading cause of death in western societies. During the last decade, the importance of thrombosis as an essential mechanism in acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and stroke has been established. The introduction of thrombolysis has led to an impressive reduction in AMI case fatality and possibly also to a substantial amelioration of its prognosis. Evidence from experimental, clinical and epidemiological studies suggest, that several hemostatic and hemorheological factors (e.g., fibrinogen, Factor VII, plasma viscosity, hematocrit, red blood cell aggregation, total white cell count) might not only play an important role in the evolution of acute thrombotic events, but may also take part in the pathophysiology of atherosclerosis. An increasing number of studies reports altered hemostatic and hemorheological parameters to be associated with smoking, hyperlipoproteinemia, and high blood pressure, as well as with adverse dietary habits and other life-style factors. To date, their way of interaction with the atherosclerotic process is poorly understood. Hemorheological or hemostatic mechanisms that might promote thromboatherogenesis include the predisposition to thrombosis via a hypercoagulable state, the enhancement of atherosclerosis by fibrinogen and its metabolites, and finally the reduction of blood flow through various rheological effects (e.g., increase in plasma viscosity and red cell aggregation, or leukocyte activation). Future research should focus in more detail on the interrelationship between accepted risk factors and the hemostatic system as well as hemorheological parameters. Deeper insight into the mechanisms involved might lead to new preventive strategies as well as to therapeutic procedures in the management of atherosclerosis and associated thrombotic events.

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