The flow of blood through the microvasculature is as vital to life as that through the heart and great vessels.
Roe Wells, Jr.
SWEDISH dextran with its molecular weight of 40,000 has been in wide use in situations of easing blood flow. Its properties are quite different from those of its American (weight, 75,000) and British (weight, 150,000) relatives. Principally, it affects a reversal of red cell aggregation and reduces blood viscosity.1 Since this results in an increase in tissue perfusion, it has been apparent that theoretically this agent would be useful in treatment of patients with severe ischemia. Several preliminary reports have suggested some improvement of blood flow by dextran in some ischemic states.2-4 In others, the nontoxic properties and general safety of the agents has been documented.5,6 As a result, it has seen extensive use abroad and in this country in a remarkably diverse group