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The incidence of hydroxyethyl starch-associated pruritus

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Andrew Carmichael, Dr P Lawler, Dr Michael White


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Background Pruritus due to hydroxyethyl starch (HES) is reported with a very variable frequencybut appears to be relatively uncommon in the U.K. compared with other European countries.Objectives To determine the frequency of HES-related pruritus in patients discharged from intensivecare units (ICUs) in two U.K. hospitals.Methods A questionnaire survey was given to 253 patients after discharge from ICU. Questionswere designed to exclude pre-existing skin disease and other causes of pruritus.Results One hundred and fifty-nine completed questionnaires were suitable for analysis. Seventeenof 135 (12ยด6%) subjects who had received HES reported itch, as did one of 24 who had not receivedHES. There was no apparent relationship between the occurrence of HES-related pruritus and eitherthe surgical indication or the brand or volume of HES infused.Conclusions HES-related pruritus is a problem that dermatologists need to recognize; however, itsfrequency in the U.K., when other causes of itch are excluded, appears to be lower than suggested insome previous reported studies.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Murphy M, Carmichael AJ, Lawler PG, White M, Cox NH

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Journal of Dermatology

Year: 2001

Volume: 144

Issue: 5

Pages: 973-976

ISSN (print): 0007-0963

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2133

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2133.2001.04184.x

PubMed id:


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