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Haemoconcentration is a thickening of the blood that can be caused by a decrease in plasma water or an increase in cellular components ( blood cells ) in the blood . Both lead to an increased concentration of the cellular components in the blood, which can significantly change its rheological properties. The hematocrit value increases. A slight thickening of the blood, for example due to insufficient fluid intake ( dehydration ) in summer, is a mostly harmless reversible process. However, high hemoconcentration can have serious health consequences.

In British English the term haemoconcentration and in American English hemoconcentration for hemoconcentration is used.


The decrease in plasma water can be triggered by various diseases and syndromes , but also by external influences such as diuretics ("water tablets"). The diseases include, for example, severe infections , burns and intestinal obstruction ( ileus ). The syndromes include desiccosis and capillary leak syndrome . Certain types of shock can also cause hemoconcentration. Loss of protein (including from nephrotic syndrome ) causes hypoalbuminemia , which causes oncotic pressure in the blood vessels to drop, which can also lead to hemoconcentration.

An increase in cellular elements in the blood is the much rarer case that causes a hemoconcentration. For example, polycythemia vera , a rare myeloproliferative disease , or polyglobulia can lead to hemoconcentration. The use of the active ingredient erythropoietin (EPO) can also lead to a haemoconcentration - especially if it is misused as a doping agent . When mountain climbing at high altitudes , the combination of a naturally increased formation of red blood cells due to hypobaric hypoxia together with the increased exhalation of water vapor and a reduced amount of water consumed can cause haemoconcentration.


Blood thickening can lead to an aggregation of erythrocytes and platelets in the capillaries , the so-called sludge phenomenon . As a result, the microcirculation is disturbed and the blood flow to the organs is no longer guaranteed. This in turn can lead to a lack of oxygen in the tissue, a hypoxia . Hypoxia can cause irreversible damage to the cells, which can even lead to death of the organism. In general, the tendency to thrombosis increases with increasing haemoconcentration.

Individual evidence

  1. JR Siewert among others: Surgery. R. Bumm, RB Brauer (editor), Verlag Springer, 2006, ISBN 3-540-30450-9 , p. 126. Restricted preview in the Google book search
  2. a b H. Burchardi et al. (Editor): Die Intensivmedizin. Verlag Springer, 2007, ISBN 3-540-72295-5 , p. 271. Limited preview in the Google book search
  3. BM Balletshofer and R. Haasis: heart and blood vessels. Georg Thieme Verlag, 2006, ISBN 3-131-41131-7 , p. 154. Restricted preview in the Google book search

further reading