Composition of Colloid Solutions

The less frequent road travelled. Not many use colloid solution as a primary form of fluid resuscitation. However, it’s good to know what are they, and when are they need.

Natural colloid, albumin, has very limited usage these days. I won’t be talking about it. And besides, I’m lazy.

I’ll be mentioning these 3 synthetic colloids:

  • Dextrans
  • Gelatin
  • Hetastarch


There are 2 types available. The 40 and 70. Each represents the molecular weight (MW) of the polysaccharides present. 40000 and 70000 respectively.

They are actually sugar water… so to say. The dextrans are polysacs in solution with either 0.9% saline or 5% dextrose solution.

Dextran 40 lasts about 6 hours. Dextran 70 last 4 times more, 24 hours.


Also present in 2 types. The Haemaccel and Gelofusine.

Molecular weight for Haemaccel is 35000. As for Gelofusine, it’s 30000.

Lasts about 2 hours in the circulation.

They are made from pigs. So be careful when you’re giving them in certain cultures.

Contents of Haemaccel:

  • 145 mmol/L of Na
  • 145 mmol/L of Cl
  • 5 mmol/L of K
  • 6.25 mmol/L of Ca
  • pH 7.4

Contents of Gelofusine:

  • 154 mmol/L of Na
  • 125 mmol/L of Cl
  • 0.4 mmol/L of K
  • 0.4 mmol/L of Ca
  • pH 7.4


Also also known as hydroxyethyl starches.

Again, 2 types available. Elohes 6% (MW of 200000) and Hespan (MW of 450000).

Very good but very expensive. So don’t bother using them unless it’s really necessary.

Fluid Therapy for the Needy


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