OBJECTIVE To determine the safety and possible efficacy of diaspirin cross-linked hemoglobin (DCLHb) in the treatment of patients in Class II-IV hemorrhagic, hypovolemic shock. DESIGN Multicenter, randomized, normal saline-controlled, dose-escalation study. SETTING Eleven hospitals in the U.S. and Belgium. SUBJECTS One hundred and thirty-nine (139) hospitalized patients with Class II-IV hemorrhagic, hypovolemic shock within the previous 4 hours who still
were requiring therapy for shock. INTERVENTIONS Beginning with the lowest dose, patients were randomized to receive 50, 100, or 200 mL of either 10% DCLHb or normal saline infused intravenously over 15 minutes. Following infusion of either treatment, further fluid resuscitation could be given, as necessary, to maintain perfusion. Vital signs, laboratory assessments, blood and fluid administration, complications, and adverse events were recorded at various times from the end of infusion through 72 hours after infusion. RESULTS A total of 29 (13 DCLHb- and 16 saline-treated) patients died during the study period. Adverse events were experienced by 61% of patients in the DCLHb group and 53% of patients in the saline group; serious adverse events occurred in 28% of DCLHb-treated patients and 30% of saline-treated patients. The incidence of prospectively defined, clinical complications, including renal insufficiency and renal failure, was similar between the treatment groups except for the occurrence of dysrhythmias/conduction disorders, which occurred significantly more frequently in the saline-treated patients than the DCLHb-treated patients (p = 0.041). At the highest dose level (200 mL), statistically significant between-group differences were observed with greater increases in serum amylase, LDH, the isoenzymes LD1,2,4 and 5, and CK-MB in the DCLHb group compared to the control group; none were of clinical significance. The volume of blood administered did not differ between the groups. Overall 24- and 72-hour survival rates were similar between treatment groups, although the hospital discharge rate was slightly higher in the DCLHb-treated patients (80%) compared with the saline-treated patients (74%). CONCLUSION Administration of 50 to 200 mL of DCLHb to patients in hemorrhagic, hypovolemic shock was not associated with evidence of end organ toxicity or significant adverse events. Further studies involving larger doses and, perhaps, earlier administration of DCLHb are warranted.