How does dextran work?

Dextran is a type of complex carbohydrate, specifically a polysaccharide, composed of glucose molecules. It is commonly used in medicine for its ability to affect blood viscosity and flow dynamics. Here's how it works:

Blood Viscosity:

Dextran molecules are large and can dissolve in blood plasma. When dextran is introduced into the bloodstream, it increases the viscosity of the blood. This means that it makes the blood thicker, which can have various effects.

Rheological Properties: 

Dextran alters the flow properties of blood, making it flow more smoothly. This can be beneficial in conditions where blood flow is impaired, such as in peripheral vascular diseases or during surgery when blood circulation may be compromised.

Volume Expander:

Dextran is also used as a plasma volume expander. By increasing the volume of blood plasma, it can help maintain blood pressure and improve circulation, especially in situations where there is a loss of blood or fluid.

Anticoagulant Properties: 

Dextran can have mild anticoagulant effects, meaning it can help prevent blood clot formation. This property can be useful in preventing thrombosis (blood clotting) during surgical procedures or in conditions where there is a risk of clot formation.

Overall, dextran's ability to alter blood viscosity, improve flow dynamics, and act as a volume expander makes it a valuable tool in various medical applications, including surgery, blood transfusions, and the treatment of certain medical conditions.