Blood viscosity, plasma adrenaline and fasting insulin in hypertensive patients with left ventricular hypertrophy: ICARUS, a LIFE substudy

Aud Høieggen, Eigil Fossum, Shawna D. Nesbitt, Vittorio Palmieri, Sverre E. Kjeldsen, Merete Bakken Molvig, Agathe Nueland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations


We have seen relationships between whole blood viscosity (WBV) and components of the metabolic cardiovascular syndrome in borderline hypertensive young men and suggested that sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity may be a mediator. In the present study we aimed to test this hypothesis in established hypertension and to investigate the relationship between WBV and cardiac dimensions. Unmedicated patients (n = 42) with stage II-III hypertension and electrocardiographic left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) underwent hyperinsulinemic isoglycemic glucose clamp to assess glucose disposal rate (GDR) and echocardiographic studies. WBV, plasma catecholamines and insulin were measured in arterialized venous blood. WBV at high shear rate correlated with baseline plasma adrenaline (r = 0.33, p = 0.04) and fasting insulin (r = 0.34, p = 0.04) while there was a negative trend for GDR (r = -0.21, p = 0.2). WBV at low shear rate correlated with plasma adrenaline (r = 0.49, p = 0.002) and resting heart rate (r = 0.36, p = 0.02). WBV was higher in smokers than in non-smokers (p = 0.02) and in males than in females (p = 0.02). Fasting insulin independently explained 12% of the variation in WBV at high shear, while baseline adrenaline independently explained 17% of the variation in WBV at low shear. Systolic blood pressure explained 31% of the variation in LV mass index. Thus, we demonstrate positive relationships between blood viscosity versus plasma adrenaline and fasting insulin in hypertensive patients with LVH. We suggest that adrenergic activity may increase hematocrit and viscosity and hence reduce insulin sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-90
Number of pages8
JournalBlood Pressure
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000



  • Hypertension
  • Insulin resistance
  • Plasma adrenaline
  • Sympathetic nervous system activity
  • Whole blood viscosity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Cite this