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The incidence of hydroxyethyl starch-associated pruritus

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


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Background Pruritus due to hydroxyethyl starch (HES) is reported with a very variable frequency but 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 intensive care units (ICUs) in two U.K. hospitals. Methods A questionnaire survey was given to 253 patients after discharge from ICU. Questions were designed to exclude pre-existing skin disease and other causes of pruritus. Results One hundred and fifty-nine completed questionnaires were suitable for analysis. Seventeen of 135 (12.6%) subjects who had received HES reported itch, as did one of 24 who had not received HES. There was no apparent relationship between the occurrence of HES-related pruritus and either the surgical indication or the brand or volume of HES infused. Conclusions HES-related pruritus is a problem that dermatologists need to recognize; however, its frequency in the U.K., when other causes of itch are excluded, appears to be lower than suggested in some 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


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