Crystalloids vs. colloids: KO at the twelfth round?

Dennis P Phillips, A Murat Kaynar, John A Kellum, Hernando Gomez
Critical Care: the Official Journal of the Critical Care Forum 2013 May 29, 17 (3): 319

CITATION: Myburgh JA, Finfer S, Bellomo R, Billot L, Cass A, Gattas D, Glass P, Lipman J, Liu B, McArthur C, McGuinness S, Rajbhandari D, Taylor CB, Webb SA; CHEST Investigators; Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society Clinical Trials Group: Hydroxyethyl starch or saline for fluid resuscitation in intensive care. N Engl J Med 2012, 367:1901-1911.

BACKGROUND: The safety and efficacy of hydroxyethyl starch (HES) for fluid resuscitation have not been fully evaluated, and adverse effects of HES on survival and renal function have been reported.

METHODS: We randomly assigned 7,000 patients who had been admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) in a 1:1 ratio to receive either 6% HES with a molecular weight of 130 kDa and a molar substitution ratio of 0.4 (130/0.4, Voluven; Fresenius Kabi AG, Bad Homburg vor der Höhe, Germany) in 0.9% sodium chloride or 0.9% sodium chloride (saline) for all fluid resuscitation until ICU discharge, death, or 90 days after randomization. The primary outcome was death within 90 days. Secondary outcomes included acute kidney injury and failure and treatment with renal replacement therapy.

OBJECTIVE: We conducted a large-scale randomized controlled trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of 6% HES(130/0.4) in 0.9% saline as compared with 0.9% saline alone for fluid resuscitation in a heterogeneous population of adult patients in the ICU.

DESIGN: The Crystalloid versus Hydroxyethyl Starch Trial (CHEST) was an investigator-initiated, multicenter,prospective, blinded, parallel-group, randomized controlled trial.

SETTING: The study was set at 32 hospitals in Australia and New Zealand.

SUBJECTS: The subjects were adult patients (>18 years) who were admitted to the ICU and who required intravenous fluid above maintenance requirements determined by the treating clinician and supported by at least one objective physiological criterion. Patients were excluded if they received more than 1 L of 6% HES within 24 hours of screening or had one of the following:dialysis-dependent or impending dialysis renal failure,computed tomography evidence of non-traumatic intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) or severe traumatic ICH, creatinine of more than 3.9 mg/dL or urine output of less than 10 mL/hour for 12 hours, sodium of more than 160 meq/L, or chloride of more than 130 meq/L. Also excluded were females of childbearing age (unless proven not to be pregnant) and patients who had post-cardiac surgery status, liver transplant, or burns and those whose death was judged to be imminent or whose underlying disease process indicated a life expectancy of less than 90 days.

INTERVENTION: If fluid was deemed necessary by the treating clinician by the parameters described above, the patient received ‘study’ fluid with identical packaging and appearance. The fluid was either 6% HES (130/0.4) in saline (Voluven) or 0.9% saline.

OUTCOMES: Th e primary outcome was death within 90 days. Secondary outcomes were acute kidney injury (AKI) and failure and treatment with renal replacement therapy.

RESULTS: A total of 597 (18.0%) of 3,315 patients in the HES group and 566 (17.0%) of 3,336 in the saline group died (relative risk (RR) in the HES group 1.06, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.96 to 1.18; P=0.26). There was no significant difference in mortality in six predefined subgroups. AKI--defined by RIFLE (Risk, Injury, Failure, Loss, and End-stage kidney disease) criteria--occurred in few patients receiving HES (34.6%) compared with saline (38%) (RR 0.91, 95% CI 0.85 to 0.97). However, renal replacement therapy was used in 235 (7.0%) of 3,352 patients in the HES group and 196 (5.8%) of 3,375 in the saline group (RR 1.21, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.45; P=0.04). HES was significantly associated with more adverse events (5.3% versus 2.8%; P<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: In patients in the ICU, there was no significant difference in 90-day mortality between patients resuscitated with 6% HES (130/0.4) or saline. However, despite a lower overall rate of AKI, more patients who received resuscitation with HES were given renal replacement therapy. (The study was supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia; the Ministry of Health, New South Wales Government, Australia; and Fresenius Kabi; and by a Practitioner Fellowship from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (to Drs Myburgh and Bellomo), by a Principal Research Fellowship from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (to Dr Cass), and by a Practitioner Fellowship from the Medical Research Foundation of the Royal Perth Hospital (to Dr Webb); CHEST number NCT00935168.).

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