Colloid solutions for fluid resuscitation

  • Review
  • Intervention

Authors

  • Frances Bunn,

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Hertfordshire, Centre for Research in Primary and Community Care, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK
    • Frances Bunn, Centre for Research in Primary and Community Care, University of Hertfordshire, College Lane, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL10 9PN, UK. f.bunn@herts.ac.uk.

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  • Daksha Trivedi,

    1. University of Hertfordshire, Centre for Research in Primary and Community Care, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK
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  • Syed Ashraf

    1. Bedfordshire and Luton Mental Health Social Care Partnership NHS Trust, Psychiatry, Bedford, UK
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Abstract

Background

Colloids are widely used in the replacement of fluid volume. However doubts remain as to which colloid is best. Different colloids vary in their molecular weight and therefore in the length of time they remain in the circulatory system. Because of this and their other characteristics, they may differ in their safety and efficacy.

Objectives

To compare the effects of different colloid solutions in patients thought to need volume replacement.

Search strategy

We searched the Cochrane Injuries Group specialised register, CENTRAL (2007, Issue 1), MEDLINE (1994 to March 2007), EMBASE (1974 to March 2007), and the National Research Register (2007, issue 1). Bibliographies of trials retrieved were searched, and drug companies manufacturing colloids were contacted for information. The search was last updated in March 2007.

Selection criteria

Randomised and quasi-randomised trials comparing colloid solutions in critically ill and surgical patients thought to need volume replacement. The outcomes measured were death, amount of whole blood transfused, and incidence of adverse reactions.

Data collection and analysis

Two authors independently extracted the data and assessed the quality of the trials.

Main results

Seventy trials, with a total of 4375 participants, met the inclusion criteria. Quality of allocation concealment was judged to be adequate in 24 trials and poor or uncertain in the rest.

Deaths were obtained in 46 trials. For albumin or PPF versus hydroxyethyl starch (HES) 25 trials (n = 1234) reported mortality. The pooled relative risk (RR) was 1.14 (95% CI 0.91 to 1.43). For albumin or PPF versus gelatin, seven trials (n = 636) reported mortality. The RR was 0.97 (95% CI 0.68 to 1.39). For albumin or PPF versus Dextran four trials (n = 360) reported mortality. The RR was 3.75 (95% CI 0.42 to 33.09). For gelatin versus HES 18 trials (n = 1337) reported mortality and RR was 1.00 (95% CI 0.80 to 1.25). RR was not estimable in the gelatin versus dextran and HES versus dextran groups.

Thirty-seven trials recorded the amount of blood transfused, however quantitative analysis was not possible due to skewness and variable reporting. Nineteen trials recorded adverse reactions, but none occurred.

Authors' conclusions

From this review, there is no evidence that one colloid solution is more effective or safe than any other, although the confidence intervals are wide and do not exclude clinically significant differences between colloids. Larger trials of fluid therapy are needed if clinically significant differences in mortality are to be detected or excluded.

Plain language summary

There is no strong evidence to be certain of the safety of any particular type of colloid solution for replacing blood fluids

When a person is bleeding heavily, the loss of fluid volume in their veins can lead to shock, so they need fluid resuscitation. Colloids and crystalloids are two types of solutions used to replace lost blood fluid (plasma). They include blood and synthetic products. Both colloids and crystalloids appear to be similarly effective at resuscitation. There are different types of colloids and these may have different effects. However, the review of trials found there is not enough evidence to be sure that any particular colloid is safer than any other.

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