Increased red cell aggregability might have unfavorable rheological effects in the microcirculation. It has been suggested that thrombolysis-related hypofibrinogenemia might be associated with a reduced erythrocyte adhesiveness/aggregation. We followed the reduction in erythrocyte adhesiveness/aggregation using a simple slide test and image analysis that measures the spaces that are formed between the aggregated erythrocytes. A significant (p = 0.01) reduction in the degree of erythrocyte adhesiveness/aggregation was noted in patients with acute myocardial infarction who received thrombolysis as opposed to individuals with Braunwald Class IIIB unstable angina who had normal fibrinogen concentrations. No change was found in the Westergren erythrocyte sedimentation rate, which is an indirect method to detect changes in aggregability of red blood cells. The present study shows the superiority of using a direct measurement of red blood cell adhesiveness/aggregation. This extremely rapid, cheap and almost bedside methodology to detect changes in erythrocyte adhesiveness/aggregation might be useful to detect changes of hemorheological relevance following thrombolysis.

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