Rheological Abnormalities and Thromboembolic Complications in Heart Disease: Spontaneous Echo Contrast and Red Cell Aggregation

Hau C. Kwaan*, Shumpei Sakurai, Jun Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

17 Scopus citations


The role of abnormal rheological changes in the pathogenesis of thromboembolism has received much attention in recent years, especially in the field of cardiology. Such changes are sometimes seen in an echocardiogram as a smokelike haze known as spontaneous echo contrast (SEC). The presence and severity of SEC correlate with dilated cardiac chambers and the incidence of thromboembolic complications. It is caused by increased red cell aggregation and increased fibrinogen levels, both of which are known risk factors for thrombosis. Although not used clinically, measurements of red cell aggregation can be made in research settings. This can provide findings that give insight into factors causing increased red cell aggregation. A small series of patients with angina pectoris was studied with the Myrenne aggregometer for red cell aggregation. The results, which show correlation between the plasma fibrinogen and triglyceride levels, are presented. As yet, there are only a few therapeutic guidelines for the correction of abnormally high fibrinogen levels in patients at risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)529-534
Number of pages6
JournalSeminars in Thrombosis and Hemostasis
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2003



  • Fibrinogen
  • Red cell aggregation
  • Spontaneous echo contrast
  • Thromboembolism
  • Viscosity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology

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