Isovolemic hemodilution with dextran 60 as treatment of pancreatic ischemia in acute pancreatitis. Clinical practicability of an experimental concept

Ann Surg. 1993 Apr;217(4):369-74. doi: 10.1097/00000658-199304000-00008.


Objective: This phase-I study transferred the concept of isovolemic hemodilution, which has been proven beneficial in the treatment of experimental acute pancreatitis to the patient.

Summary background data: Pancreatic ischemia represents one main mechanism in the pathogenesis of necrotizing pancreatitis. Isovolemic hemodilution with dextran 60 has been shown experimentally to limit the progression of pancreatic necrosis by improving pancreatic microcirculation.

Methods: Thirteen patients with clinically severe nonbiliary pancreatitis and CT-classification E according to Balthazar were enrolled. Exclusion criteria were anemia, coronary heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, coagulopathies, and secondary referral. The volume of blood to be exchanged for dextran 60 was calculated from a nomogram based on body surface. Isovolemic hemodilution aimed at a hematocrit of 30%. Independent from the exchange procedure conventional fluid resuscitation was performed to adjust the central venous pressure at 6 +/- 2 mm Hg.

Results: Whole blood (750-1,700 mL) was exchanged for dextran 60 during 45 to 70 minutes. No adverse effect was encountered; central hemodynamics were not affected. Considering a mean Ranson score of 5, mortality was low (7.7%). Progression of pancreatic necrosis was registered in only two patients subsequently undergoing surgical treatment (15%).

Conclusions: Isovolemic hemodilution is practicable in patients. A randomized trial has to prove whether isovolemic hemodilution can substantially alter the course of acute pancreatitis as anticipated from animal studies.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Dextrans / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Fluid Therapy
  • Hematocrit
  • Hemodilution*
  • Humans
  • Ischemia / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreas / blood supply*
  • Pancreatitis / therapy*


  • Dextrans