Colloids and the Microcirculation

Anesth Analg. 2018 May;126(5):1747-1754. doi: 10.1213/ANE.0000000000002620.


Colloid solutions have been advocated for use in treating hypovolemia due to their expected effect on improving intravascular retention compared with crystalloid solutions. Because the ultimate desired effect of fluid resuscitation is the improvement of microcirculatory perfusion and tissue oxygenation, it is of interest to study the effects of colloids and crystalloids at the level of microcirculation under conditions of shock and fluid resuscitation, and to explore the potential benefits of using colloids in terms of recruiting the microcirculation under conditions of hypovolemia. This article reviews the physiochemical properties of the various types of colloid solutions (eg, gelatin, dextrans, hydroxyethyl starches, and albumin) and the effects that they have under various conditions of hypovolemia in experimental and clinical scenarios.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Colloids / administration & dosage*
  • Colloids / metabolism
  • Crystalloid Solutions / administration & dosage
  • Crystalloid Solutions / metabolism
  • Fluid Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Hypovolemia / drug therapy*
  • Hypovolemia / metabolism
  • Hypovolemia / physiopathology
  • Microcirculation / drug effects*
  • Microcirculation / physiology
  • Resuscitation / methods


  • Colloids
  • Crystalloid Solutions