Hydroxyethyl starch (HES)
A starch produced from waxy corn
Chemically, hydroxyethyl starch (HES) is derived from waxy corn starch, which is obtained from special maize varieties that produce nearly exclusively amylopectin.
The raw material is first modified by hydroxyethylation, and then hydrolyzed to reduce the average molecular weight. The molecular weight influences the rate of elimination in vivo. With the degree of hydroxyethylation, which protects against rapid breakdown by amylase enzymes, we can control the rate of degradation of the starch. A very important aspect for HES performance is to achieve as narrow a molecular weight range as possible. As one of the most experienced manufacturers, Fresenius Kabi has this issue well under control. After purification and drying, HES is packed immediately.
Ingredient for volume therapy
The most important application of HES is within the field of volume therapy. It is one of the colloidal solutions used in the group of plasma expanders.
HES containing products are used in emergency medicine for the treatment of hypovolaemia due to acute blood loss when crystalloids alone are not considered sufficient.
Approved production process
The production procedure of HES complies with EU-GMP and US-cGMP regulations and is approved by national and international regulatory authorities including the US FDA. With an annual production output of several hundred tonnes of HES, Fresenius Kabi‘s plant in Linz is among the world‘s largest producers of this active pharmaceutical ingredient.