ABSTRACT: It is heavily debated whether or not treatment with hydroxyethyl starch 130/0.4 contributes to the development of acute kidney failure in patients with severe sepsis. In the previous issue of Critical Care, Muller and colleagues report no association between initial resuscitation with hydroxyethyl starch 130/0.4 and renal impairment in a cohort of septic patients. Can we then consider hydroxyethyl starch 130/0.4 a safe intervention? The answer is no - observational data should be interpreted with caution and should mainly be used to identify risks, while safety must be assessed in randomised clinical trials. With these factors in mind, Muller's data associate the use of vasopressors with poor outcome, underlining the need for further randomised clinical trials to assess the potential harmful effects of common interventions in the critically ill.
Critical Care (online Edition), 2012, Vol 16, Issue 2