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In vitro evaluation of the effect of haemodilution with dextran 40 on coagulation profile as measured by thromboelastometry and multiple electrode aggregometry

Department of Anaesthetics, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Camperdown, New South Wales


We evaluated the effects of haemodilution with either dextran 40 or 0.9% normal saline on coagulation in vitro using rotational thromboelastometry (ROTEM®, Pentapharm Co., Munich, Germany) and multiple electrode aggregometry (Multiplate® Platelet Function Analyser, Dynabyte, Munich, Germany). Venous blood samples obtained from 20 healthy volunteers were diluted in vitro with dextran 40 or normal saline by 5%, 10% and 15%. Fibrinogen concentration, ROTEM-EXTEM® (screening test for the extrinsic coagulation pathway), FIBTEM® (an EXTEM-based assay of the fibrin component of clot) parameters including coagulation time, clot formation time, alpha angle, maximum clot firmness and lysis index were measured in the undiluted sample and at each level of haemodilution. Dextran 40 at 15% haemodilution significantly prolonged coagulation time, clot formation time and significantly decreased the alpha angle and maximal clot firmness (EXTEM amplitude at five minutes [A5] and ten minutes [A10]) compared with normal saline. The FIBTEM assay (maximal clot firmness and FIBTEM A5 and A10) showed a marked decrease in maximal clot firmness at all dilutions suggesting impaired fibrinogen activity and a risk of bleeding. Multiple electrode aggregometry did not demonstrate any platelet dysfunction. Haemodilution with dextran 40 causes significant impairment in clot formation and strength compared to saline haemodilution and undiluted blood. At the levels of in vitro haemodilution designed to reflect the clinical use of dextran infusions, no significant fibrinolysis or platelet inhibition was observed.

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