© 2020, The Author(s). The influence of Poiseuille flow on cell viability has applications in the areas of cancer metastasis, lab-on-a-chip devices and flow cytometry. Indeed, retaining cell viability is important in the emerging field of cell therapy as cells need to be returned to patients¿ bodies. Despite this, it is unclear how this fundamental fluid regime affects cell viability. This study investigated the influence that varying flow rate, and the corresponding wall shear stress (¿w) has on the viability and inertial positions of circulating cells in laminar pipe flow. The viability of two representative cell lines under different shear stresses in two different systems were investigated while particle streak imaging was used to determine their inertial positions. It was found that peristaltic pumps have a negative effect on cell viability in comparison to syringe pumps. Increasing shear stress in a cone and plate above 3 Pa caused an increase in cell death, however, ¿w as high as 10 Pa in circulation has little to no effect on cell viability. Inertial lift forces that move cells towards the centre of the channel protect them from experiencing detrimental levels of ¿w, indicating that ¿w in Poiseuille flow is not a good predictor of cell viability during advection.