DEXTRANS, a mixture of glucose polymers of various size and geometry, were introduced into medicine in the early 1950's by the Swedish scientists, after a long search for a practical nontoxic plasma substitute.1 As a byproduct of this search, it was soon found that the high fractions of dextrans produced erythrocyte aggregation, impaired microcirculation, and a clinical picture akin to shock and certain other diseases and that the lower fractions prevented and reversed aggregation and impaired microcirculatory flow.2,3 More recently another effect of dextrans, namely that of antithrombogenesis, has been recognized.
Two preparations of dextran are suitable for clinical use: a medium molecular weight dextran preparation (with average molecular weight of 70,000) which is commercially available and a low molecular weight Swedish preparation (Rheomacrodex, with average molecular weight of 40,000) which is available for investigation only. These dextran preparations will henceforth be referred to in this paper as
Atik M. Dextran 40 and Dextran 70A Review. Arch Surg. 1967;94(5):664-672. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1967.01330110080011