Page 15, hemodynamics, Dr. D. Penney
Hematocrit, or the concentration of erythrocytes in the blood, is usually the most important factor affecting blood viscosity. As hematocrit rises, viscosity increases. Due to the ability of erythrocytes to greatly deform (see below), blood viscosity may become lower than would otherwise be anticipated. Under conditions such as hypothermia, hypoxia, and acidosis, erythrocytes become less deformable, causing viscosity to increase. The viscosity of plasma is increased by elevated plasma protein and fibrinogen concentrations, but this is of minor importance.
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