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Replacing the Transfusion of 1-2 Units of Blood with Plasma Expanders that Increase Oxygen Delivery Capacity: Evidence from Experimental Studies.

  • Author(s): Tsai, Amy G
  • Salazar Vázquez, Beatriz Y
  • Cabrales, Pedro
  • Kistler, Erik B
  • Tartakovsky, Daniel M
  • Subramaniam, Shankar
  • Acharya, Seetharama A
  • Intaglietta, Marcos
  • et al.
Abstract

At least a third of the blood supply in the world is used to transfuse 1-2 units of packed red blood cells for each intervention and most clinical trials of blood substitutes have been carried out at this level of oxygen carrying capacity (OCC) restoration. However, the increase of oxygenation achieved is marginal or none at all for molecular hemoglobin (Hb) products, due to their lingering vasoactivity. This has provided the impetus for the development of "oxygen therapeutics" using Hb-based molecules that have high oxygen affinity and target delivery of oxygen to anoxic areas. However it is still unclear how these oxygen carriers counteract or mitigate the functional effects of anemia due to obstruction, vasoconstriction and under-perfusion. Indeed, they are administered as a low dosage/low volume therapeutic Hb (subsequently further diluted in the circulatory pool) and hence induce extremely small OCC changes. Hyperviscous plasma expanders provide an alternative to oxygen therapeutics by increasing the oxygen delivery capacity (ODC); in anemia they induce supra-perfusion and increase tissue perfusion (flow) by as much as 50%. Polyethylene glycol conjugate albumin (PEG-Alb) accomplishes this by enhancing the shear thinning behavior of diluted blood, which increases microvascular endothelial shear stress, causes vasodilation and lowering peripheral vascular resistance thus facilitating cardiac function. Induction of supra-perfusion takes advantage of the fact that ODC is the product of OCC and blood flow and hence can be maintained by increasing either or both. Animal studies suggest that this approach may save a considerable fraction of the blood supply. It has an additional benefit of enhancing tissue clearance of toxic metabolites.

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