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Haemorheological adaptation during pregnancy in a Latin American population

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Abstract: Objective: To investigate haemorheological changes during pregnancy in a Latin American population and compare to previously published data from Caucasian populations. Design: Cross-sectional study. Population: 75 pregnant women at 10–36 wk of gestation and 17 non-pregnant female controls in Lima, Peru. All the women and their ancestors for three generations were born and lived at sea level. Methods: Viscosity, haematocrit and plasma fibrinogen, albumin and total protein concentrations were determined in blood samples obtained after an overnight period of fasting. Results: At 10 wk of gestation, total protein concentration and plasma viscosity were above non-pregnant levels by about 15% and subsequently decreased linearly with gestation. Fibrinogen concentration was increased in the first trimester; it then decreased to a nadir at about 20 wk and subsequently increased. Albumin concentration decreased linearly with gestation. Haematocrit decreased from pre-pregnancy levels at 10 wk to a nadir at about 26 wk. Blood viscosity increased in the first trimester and then decreased with gestation to a nadir at about 26 wk. Conclusion: In the first trimester of pregnancy blood and plasma viscosity are increased and they subsequently fall with advancing gestation. Plasma viscosity reflects the changes in total protein concentration, and blood viscosity is dependent on the interplay of changes in plasma viscosity and haematocrit.
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Keywords: Latin America; blood viscosity; haemorheology; plasma viscosity; pregnancy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Harris Birthright Research Centre for Fetal Medicine, King's College Hospital, and 2: Imperial College School of Medicine, London, UK

Publication date: May 1, 2001

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