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Hydroxyethyl starch

Hydroxyethyl starch
Systematic (IUPAC) name
CAS number  ?
ATC code  ?
PubChem  ?
Chemical data
Formula  ?
Mol. mass 130 kDa (mean)
Pharmacokinetic data
Bioavailability  ?
Metabolism  ?
Half life 1.4 hrs
Excretion Renal
Therapeutic considerations
Pregnancy cat.


Legal status
Routes Intravenous

Hydroxyethyl starch (HES/HAES) is a nonionic starch derivative. It is one of the most frequently used blood plasma substitutes under the trade names Hespan by B. Braun Medical Inc. and Voluven by Fresenius Kabi. It is also used in oil drilling.


Therapeutic use

An intravenous solution of hydroxyethyl starch is used to prevent shock following severe blood caused by trauma, surgery, or some other problem. It increases the blood volume, allowing red blood cells to continue to deliver oxygen to the body.


  • This product should not be used in people who are hypersensitive or allergic to hydroxyethyl starch.
  • Patients with kidney failure not related to low blood volume and patients on dialysis should avoid this product.
  • Use is contraindicated in people with severe increases in blood levels of sodium or chloride.
  • Patients with bleeding inside the head should not use this product.


The elimination depends on molar substitution degree. Molecules smaller than the renal threshold (60–70 kDa) are readily excreted in the urine while the larger ones are metabolized by plasma α–amylase before the degradation products are renally excreted.

Adverse effects

Anaphylactoid reactions: hypersensitivity, mild influenza-like symptoms, bradycardia, tachycardia, bronchospasm and non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema.

Decrease in hematocrit and disturbances in coagulation. May be associated with covering the use of anabolic steroids/EPO for endurance athletes.


  • Information on Hespan
  • FDA press release approving Voluven
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Hydroxyethyl_starch". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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