Advances in the Starling Principle and Microvascular Fluid Exchange; Consequences and Implications for Fluid Therapy

Front Vet Sci. 2021 Apr 6;8:623671. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2021.623671. eCollection 2021.


Ernest Starling first presented a hypothesis about the absorption of tissue fluid to the plasma within tissue capillaries in 1896. In this Chapter we trace the evolution of Starling's hypothesis to a principle and an equation, and then look in more detail at the extension of the Starling principle in recent years. In 2012 Thomas Woodcock and his son proposed that experience and experimental observations surrounding clinical practices involving the administration of intravenous fluids were better explained by the revised Starling principle. In particular, the revised or extended Starling principle can explain why crystalloid resuscitation from the abrupt physiologic insult of hypovolaemia is much more effective than the pre-revision Starling principle had led clinicians to expect. The authors of this chapter have since combined their science and clinical expertise to offer clinicians a better basis for their practice of rational fluid therapy.

Keywords: crystalloid and colloid infusion; fluid therapy; glycocalyx model; hypoalbuminaemia; oedema (edema); resuscitation; starling principle.

Publication types

  • Review