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J Trauma. 2009 Feb;66(2):346-52. doi: 10.1097/TA.0b013e3181961c35.

Early prediction of massive transfusion in trauma: simple as ABC (assessment of blood consumption)?

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Division of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.



Massive transfusion (MT) occurs in about 3% of civilian and 8% of military trauma patients. Although many centers have implemented MT protocols, most do not have a standardized initiation policy. The purpose of this study was to validate previously described MT scoring systems and compare these to a simplified nonlaboratory dependent scoring system (Assessment of Blood Consumption [ABC] score).


Retrospective cohort of all level I adult trauma patients transported directly from the scene (July 2005 to June 2006). Trauma-Associated Severe Hemorrhage (TASH) and McLaughlin scores calculated according to published methods. ABC score was assigned based on four nonweighted parameters: penetrating mechanism, positive focused assessment sonography for trauma, arrival systolic blood pressure of 90 mm Hg or less, and arrival heart rate > or = 120 bpm. Area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) used to compare scoring systems.


Five hundred ninety-six patients were available for analysis; and the overall MT rate of 12.4%. Patients receiving MT had higher TASH (median, 6 vs. 13; p < 0.001), McLaughlin (median, 2.4 vs. 3.4; p < 0.001) and ABC (median, 1 vs. 2; p < 0.001) scores. TASH (AUROC = 0.842), McLaughlin (AUROC = 0.846), and ABC (AUROC = 0.842) scores were all good predictors of MT, and the difference between the scores was not statistically significant. ABC score of 2 or greater was 75% sensitive and 86% specific for predicting MT (correctly classified 85%).


The ABC score, which uses nonlaboratory, nonweighted parameters, is a simple and accurate in identifying patients who will require MT as compared with those previously published scores.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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