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Vox Sang. 2009 Oct;97(3):247-53. doi: 10.1111/j.1423-0410.2009.01198.x. Epub 2009 Jun 3.

Massive transfusion--evaluation of current clinical practice and outcome in two large teaching hospital trusts in Northern England.

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  • 1Intensive Care Unit, St James's University Hospital, Leeds, UK.



Although numerous guidelines exist for the management of massive blood loss, there have been few data confirming whether these guidelines are observed in practice or whether compliance results in improved outcome. We have performed a retrospective audit of cases of massive transfusion in two major teaching hospital trusts in Northern England to investigate the use of blood components and patient outcome.


The massive transfusion population was electronically derived from a list of all blood component transfusions in 2006. Data from the intensive care and patient administration databases established hospital outcome. Factors independently predictive of survival were identified by logistic regression. Data are presented as medians and interquartile ranges. Odds ratios (OR) are given with 95% confidence intervals.


Two hundred and four patients had a massive transfusion. Although only 1.3% of all transfused patients, the massive transfusion group used 10% of the total blood products. Their mortality rate was 34%. Factors independently predictive of survival were: a ratio of fresh frozen plasma: red blood cells > 1.1, OR 7.22 (1.95-26.68), and elective surgery, OR 4.56 (1.88-11.05). Factors independently predictive of death were: age (per year), OR 0.97 (0.95-0.99), liver disease, OR 0.25 (0.09-0.70), male gender, OR 0.41 (0.19-0.89), vascular surgery, OR 0.34 (0.12-0.96) and number of adult packs of platelets transfused, OR 0.69 (0.57-0.83).


Massive transfusion occurs rarely but has a high mortality and requires a disproportionate amount of blood products. An increased ratio of fresh frozen plasma to red blood cells was associated with improved outcome.

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