Role of the Hematocrit in a Rabbit Model of Arterial Thrombosis and Bleeding

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A decrease in hematocrit lengthens bleeding time. The authors studied the role of hematocrit variations in an experimental model of arterial thrombosis and bleeding.


The Folts model was used in 24 rabbits. After anesthesia was induced and common monitors were positioned, the right common carotid artery was exposed and a 60% stenosis was induced. A compression injury of the artery was then produced, which triggered a series of cyclic episodes of thrombosis and clot lysis (cyclic flow reductions [CFRs]). After counting the number of CFRs that occurred in 20 min (CFR1), the animals were assigned randomly to one of three groups (n = 8 in each group): control, hemodilution with rabbit homologous platelet-rich plasma, and hemodilution with gelatin solution and then reinfusion of the shed blood. The effect of hemodilution with replacement by platelet-rich plasma or by colloid was observed by recording the number of CFRs during another 20-min period (CFR2). A third period of observation (CFR3) followed shed blood reinfusion in the gelatin solution group. Ear immersion bleeding time was recorded after each CFR period.


In the two experimental groups, the decrease in hematocrit (from 36 +/- 3% to 23 +/- 2% and from 38 +/- 3% to 23 +/- 2%, respectively; mean +/- SD) abolished CFRs (from a median of 4 to 0 and 7 to 0, respectively) and significantly lengthened bleeding time (from 76 +/- 24 s to 114 +/- 36 s and from 84 +/- 37 s to 127 +/- 29 s, respectively). Blood reinfusion in the group that received the gelatin solution caused CFR to reappear (CFR3 = 4).


Decreases in hematocrit reduced the cyclic arterial thrombosis rate and increased the bleeding time in the rabbits in this study. Hematocrit normalization caused thrombosis to reappear.

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