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If nonprotein colloid plasma expanders could be demonstrated to be safe and efficacious in burn resuscitation, a significant cost benefit would result. This study was a randomized cross-over comparison of 500 ml of 5% albumin and 500 ml of 10% pentastarch, a new hydroxyethyl starch, in acute burn resuscitation. Pentastarch was an effective plasma expander, resulting in increases of preload, cardiac output, oxygen delivery, and oxygen consumption; the hemodynamic effects of pentastarch infusion were equal or superior to those of albumin. Both albumin and pentastarch infusions resulted in increased bleeding and clotting times; these effects were most likely dilutional. Pentastarch is a promising plasma substitute for burn resuscitation; the effects of a 500 ml infusion are equal or superior to those of albumin. Further study is necessary to assess the safety of larger infusion volumes.

(C) Lippincott-Raven Publishers.