Acute hyperviscosity: syndromes and management

Morie A. Gertz


Plasma hyperviscosity is a rare complication of both monoclonal and polyclonal disorders associated with elevation of immunoglobulins. Asymptomatic patients with an elevation in the serum viscosity do not require plasma exchange, and the majority will have other indications for therapeutic intervention. For patients with hemorrhagic or central nervous system manifestations, plasma exchange is the therapy of choice and is relatively safe. Viscosity measurements are not required to initiate therapy if the index of suspicion is high and the clinical presentation is typical. However, patients should have a sample sent for confirmation of the diagnosis. Whole-blood hyperviscosity is seen in patients with extreme elevation of the red cell and white cell count. Phlebotomy of patients with primary and secondary elevation of the red cell count is a well-established therapy.

  • Submitted June 23, 2018.
  • Accepted August 11, 2018.
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