Preliminary clinical testing of a potential plasma substitute suggests that the starch preparation is effective, non-allergenic, and of low toxicity—with several advantages over clinical dextran.
A Johns Hopkins investigator, W. Leigh Thompson, MD, told The Journal, that the agent, hydroxyethyl starch (HES), was "as effective as dextran—perhaps even more so when used in more than 60 hypovolemic patients."
In a related report to the AMA convention, one of Dr. Thompson's coworkers, Robert D. Brickman, MD, described antigenicity studies in seven healthy volunteers who received repeated infusions of 6% HES in saline solution, totaling 3,000 ml over five weeks.
If HES is to be used as a plasma substitute in man, it must be nonallergenic, Dr. Brickman pointed out. Therefore, periodically, for up to three months after initial HES infusion, sensitivity to HES and cross-sensitivity to dextran were measured in vitro by the amount of histamine released from their