Exercise hemorheology: Classical data, recent findings and unresolved issues
Date of this Version
The present review focuses on the past and recent knowledge in the field of exercise hemorheology and presents some unresolved issues for opening discussion. Acute exercise is associated with a rise in hematocrit which results in an increase in blood viscosity. Whereas increased blood viscosity was previously viewed as having negative consequences for cardiovascular function and aerobic performance, recent findings suggest dynamic changes in blood viscosity might be useful for vascular function during exercise by increasing nitric oxide production. Other determinants of blood viscosity are altered by exercise (e.g., decreased red blood cell deformability, increased red blood cell aggregation and plasma viscosity) and may, independent of the associated effect on blood viscosity, directly modulate aerobic capacity. However, the data published on the effects of exercise on the hemorheology are not consistent, with some studies showing decreased, unchanged, or increased red blood cell deformability/aggregation when compared with rest. These discrepancies seem to be related to the exercise protocol investigated, the population tested or the methodogy utilized for hemorheological measurements. Finally, this review focuses on the effects of training exercise training (i.e. chronic physical activity) on the hemorheological profile of healthy individuals and patients with cardiovascular and metabolic disorders.
This document has been peer reviewed.