Understanding the Harms of HES: A Review of the Evidence to Date [Turk J Anaesthesiol Reanim]
Turk J Anaesthesiol Reanim. 2019; 47(2): 81-91 | DOI: 10.5152/TJAR.2019.72681  

Understanding the Harms of HES: A Review of the Evidence to Date

M.Necmettin Ünal1, Konrad Reinhart2
1Department of Anaesthesiology and Reanimation, Ankara University School of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey
2Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Centre for Sepsis Care and Control, Jena University Hospital, Jena, Germany

Intravenous (IV) fluid resuscitation is one of the most common interventions in intensive care medicine. Despite clear guidelines, the choice of IV fluid is largely dependent on physician preference instead of high-quality evidence of efficacy and safety. This is particularly the case for synthetic colloids, such as hydroxyethyl starch (HES). The use of HES in critical care has been associated with increased rates of acute kidney injury (AKI), renal replacement therapy and mortality. In light of this, current guidelines and scientific and regulatory bodies do not recommend the use of HES for fluid therapy in critical illness and caution against its use in many other settings. Despite this, HES products are still debated and used. Awareness of the indications, contraindications, doses, benefits and adverse effects for IV fluids, as well as recommendations from scientific and regulatory bodies, is essential to guarantee patients’ safety. Poor awareness of optimal IV fluid therapy has recently been revealed in some countries including Turkey. Therefore, we provide a review of fluids used for resuscitation, discuss safety data and adverse effects of HES, such as increased AKI and mortality, and discuss recent updates from scientific and regulatory bodies in order to raise awareness of fluid therapy. We conclude that given the lack of a clear benefit of HES in any clinical setting and the availability of safer alternatives, such as crystalloids and albumin, HES should be avoided.

Keywords: Acute kidney injury, AKI, critical illness, crystalloids, colloids, fluids, HES, hydroxyethyl starch, mortality, resuscitation, sepsis

M.Necmettin Ünal, Konrad Reinhart. Understanding the Harms of HES: A Review of the Evidence to Date. Turk J Anaesthesiol Reanim. 2019; 47(2): 81-91

Corresponding Author: M.Necmettin Ünal, Türkiye

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