Prehospital hypertonic saline/dextran infusion for post-traumatic hypotension. The U.S.A. Multicenter Trial

Ann Surg. 1991 May;213(5):482-91. doi: 10.1097/00000658-199105000-00014.


The safety and efficacy of 7.5% sodium chloride in 6% dextran 70 (HSD) in posttraumatic hypotension was evaluated in Houston, Denver, and Milwaukee. Multicentered, blinded, prospective randomized studies were developed comparing 250 mL of HSD versus 250 mL of normal crystalloid solution administered before routine prehospital and emergency center resuscitation. During a 13-month period, 422 patients were enrolled, 211 of whom subsequently underwent operative procedures. Three hundred fifty-nine patients met criteria for efficacy analysis, 51% of whom were in the HSD group. Seventy-two per cent of all patients were victims of penetrating trauma. The mean injury severity score (19), Trauma Score plus Injury Severity Score (TRISS) probability of survival, revised trauma scores (5.9), age, ambulance times, preinfusion blood pressure, and etiology distribution were identical between groups. The total amount of fluid administered, white blood cell count, arterial blood gases, potassium, or bicarbonate also were identical between groups. The HSD group had an improved blood pressure (p = 0.024). Hematocrit, sodium chloride, and osmolality levels were significantly elevated in the Emergency Center. Although no difference in overall survival was demonstrated, the HSD group requiring surgery did have a better survival (p = 0.02), with some variance among centers. The HSD group had fewer complications that the standard treatment group (7 versus 24). A greater incidence of adult respiratory distress syndrome, renal failure, and coagulopathy occurred in the standard treatment group. No anaphylactoid nor Dextran-related coagulopathies occurred in the HSD group. Although this trial demonstrated trends supportive of HSD in hypotensive hemorrhagic shock patients requiring surgery, a larger sample size will be required to establish which subgroups of trauma patients might maximally benefit from the prehospital use of a small volume of hyperosmolar solution. This study demonstrates the safety of administering 250 mL 7.5% HDS to this group of patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Dextrans / administration & dosage*
  • Dextrans / therapeutic use
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Fluid Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hypotension / etiology
  • Hypotension / therapy*
  • Hypotension / urine
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Male
  • Random Allocation
  • Saline Solution, Hypertonic / administration & dosage*
  • Saline Solution, Hypertonic / therapeutic use
  • Survival Analysis
  • Wounds and Injuries / complications*
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality
  • Wounds and Injuries / pathology


  • Dextrans
  • Saline Solution, Hypertonic