Plasma viscosity

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Also known as: PV

At a Glance

Why Get Tested?

Plasma viscosity measurement can be used to assess the viscosity, or the ‘thickness’ of the blood. The viscosity of plasma (the liquid part of the blood) is affected by the presence of proteins that can be produced in normal response to infection or inflammation, or proteins that are produced abnormally in certain diseases (paraproteins). Measuring the viscosity of blood may be used to indirectly detect and monitor inflammation and can aid in the diagnosis and monitoring of many conditions.

When to Get Tested?

Plasma viscosity is a specialised test that is usually only available in larger, specialist laboratories. If your doctor thinks that you might have a condition that causes inflammation they may use this test to help diagnose and follow the course of this condition, especially temporal arteritis or polymyalgia rheumatica. Production of paraproteins is associated with some disease states, including Waldenström macroglobulinaemia. Production of high levels of paraproteins may lead to a condition called ‘hyperviscosity syndrome’. Measurement of plasma viscosity maybe used to help diagnose this condition along with clinical presentation and fundoscopic examination to assess the retinal veins.

Sample Required?

A blood sample taken from a vein in the arm.

Test Preparation Needed?

No test preparation is needed.