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March 1, 1965

Dextran Therapy in Thrombophlebitis

Author Affiliations


From the US Army Surgical Research Unit, Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Tex (Capt Sawyer and Col Moncrief), and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas (Dr. Canizaro).

JAMA. 1965;191(9):740-742. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080090054012

The value of dextran has increased far beyond that of a volume expander. Low-molecularweight fractions (average molecular weight [mol wt] 40,000) have the ability to disrupt red cell agglutination and in some states to improve blood flow1; this has proved useful in ischemic and low flow situations.2 Clinical Dextran (average mol wt 75,000) has been found useful in preventing experimental arterial and venous thrombosis.3,4 These properties suggest that dextran would be useful in the treatment of acute thrombophlebitis.

Sodium heparin is presently accepted by clinicians as the optimum therapy for nonembolic thrombophlebitis. However, there are multiple problems associated with its administration, and proof that its administration causes more than symptomatic relief is lacking. To be properly used, heparin should be given intravenously, frequently, and with careful laboratory control. This is expensive and laborious, and still does not eliminate the danger of secondary hemorrhage.

One aim of anticoagulation

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