Van der Linden and colleagues completed a small randomized double-blind controlled trial in children aged 2-12 years undergoing elective surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass for congenital cardiac disease; 29 patients were allocated to receive 6% hydroxyethyl starch (HES) while 26 received 5% human serum albumin (HAS).

The primary outcome measure was the volume of starch solution used during the operation. The hypothesis was that no difference would be found. The volume of starch used up to the end of surgery was 36.6 ± 11.8 mL/kg in the HES group, 37.0 ± 11.9 mL/kg in the HAS group (ratio of means HES/HAS: 0.98; 95%CI: 0.84-1.16).

This trial suggests that the efficacy of HES and HAS is similar, but it is clearly not large enough to compare the safety of both types of colloids.

– Jacques Lacroix