Hydroxyethyl starch (HES) solutions are widely used for volume replacement therapy but are also known to compromise coagulation, impair renal function and increase long-term mortality. To test the hypotheses that HES 130/0.4 has fewer adverse effects than HES 200/0.5 and exerts anti-inflammatory properties, we compared the effects of HES 130/0.4, HES 200/0.5 and saline on in vitro haemostasis and pro-inflammatory platelet function.
Whole blood samples from healthy volunteers were mixed with 6% HES 130/0.4, 10% HES 200/0.5, or normal saline to achieve a final haemodilution rate of 10% or 40%. Haemostatic capacity was characterised by thromboelastography (ROTEM) and measurement for FXIIIa activity. Platelet activation and pro-inflammatory platelet functions were characterised by flow cytometry measuring the platelet activation marker CD62P and binding of fibrinogen to platelets as well as the formation of heterotypic platelet-leukocyte conjugates.
Compared with saline, HES 130/0.4 dose-dependently impaired formation and firmness of the fibrin clot but did not affect the fibrin crosslinking activity of FXIIIa. At 40% but not at 10% haemodilution rate, HES 200/0.5 also increased platelet fibrinogen binding and both HES solutions increased expression of CD62P, the main receptor for platelet-leukocyte adhesion. HES 130/0.4 but not HES 200/0.5 increased formation of platelet-neutrophil conjugates and, to a lesser degree, platelet-monocyte conjugates.