Background: Hydroxyethylstarch used for volume restoration in brain-dead kidney donors has been associated with impaired kidney function in the transplant recipients. We undertook a multicentre randomised study to assess the frequency of acute renal failure (ARF) in patients with severe sepsis or septic shock treated with hydroxyethylstarch or gelatin.
Methods: Adults with severe sepsis or septic shock were enrolled prospectively in three intensive-care units in France. They were randomly assigned 6% hydroxyethylstarch (200 kDa, 0.60-0.66 substitution) or 3% fluid-modified gelatin. The primary endpoint was ARF (a two-fold increase in serum creatinine from baseline or need for renal replacement therapy). Analyses were by intention to treat.
Findings: 129 patients were enrolled over 18 months. Severity of illness and serum creatinine (median 143 [IQR 88-203] vs 114 [91-175] micromol/L) were similar at baseline in the hydroxyethylstarch and gelatin groups. The frequencies of ARF (27/65 [42%] vs 15/64 [23%], p=0.028) and oliguria (35/62 [56%] vs 23/63 [37%], p=0.025) and the peak serum creatinine concentration (225 [130-339] vs 169 [106-273] micromol/L, p=0.04) were significantly higher in the hydroxyethylstarch group than in the gelatin group. In a multivariate analysis, risk factors for acute renal failure included mechanical ventilation (odds ratio 4.02 [95% CI 1.37-11.8], p=0.013) and use of hydroxyethylstarch (2.57 [1.13-5.83], p=0.026).
Interpretations: The use of this preparation of hydroxyethylstarch as a plasma-volume expander is an independent risk factor for ARF in patients with severe sepsis or septic shock.