The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Voluven, an intravenous solution that prevents and treats a dangerous loss of blood volume, a condition that sometimes occurs during and after surgery. Significant blood losses can cause a rapid drop in the volume of red blood cells and plasma circulating through the body. This can lead to shock, which is potentially fatal. Blood volume expanders are commonly administered to quickly restore some of the lost volume so that remaining red blood cells can continue to deliver needed oxygen to the body's tissues.
During orthopedic surgery, Voluven was as safe and effective in expanding blood volume as Hespan, an approved starch solution.