Oxygen therapeutics - Current concepts

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27 Scopus citations


Purpose: In an effort to develop agents that enhance the oxygen-delivery capability of blood without the risks associated with allogeneic blood transfusions, several products are undergoing development and clinical trials. These oxygen transport agents can be divided into two main groups, perfluorocarbon (PFC) emulsions and modified hemoglobin solutions. Source: Articles from the literature on the development and clinical trials of oxygen therapeutic agents were reviewed. Principal findings: PFCs are synthetic fluorinated hydrocarbons that increase dissolved oxygen in the fluid phase of the blood without binding the oxygen molecule. They enhance oxygen delivery significantly and may be used to augment the technique of intraoperative autologous donation. Two PFC products have been tested in Phase III clinical trials. Hemoglobin-based oxygen carriers (HBOCs) are either cross-linked or microencapsulated hemoglobin molecules. Modification of the human hemoglobin molecule with intra-and inter-molecular cross-linking eliminates renal toxicity and improves the oxygen dissociation characteristics of the molecule. These modifications are necessary because stroma-free hemoglobin (Hb) does not release oxygen in the physiologic range and dissociates into dimers which can be rapidly filtered by the kidney, leading to renal toxicity. In addition to human Hb, bovine hemoglobin is another source of raw material for HBOC products. Recombinant human Hb has also been produced, using an E. coli expression system, for HBOC manufacturing. Four cross-linked hemoglobin products have been tested in Phase III clinical trials. Conclusion: While no product has yet been approved for clinical use, preliminary studies with oxygen therapeutics show promising results, with effective oxygen carrying capacity and acceptable side effect profiles. In the future, the formation of a hybrid product which combines the best features from several of the products currently undergoing development may yield the ideal oxygen therapeutic agent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S32-S40
JournalCanadian Journal of Anesthesia
Issue number4 SUPPL.
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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