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Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program. 2010;2010:465-9. doi: 10.1182/asheducation-2010.1.465.

Optimal use of blood products in severely injured trauma patients.

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  • Division of Acute Care Surgery and Center for Translational Injury Research, University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA. John.Holcomb@uth.tmc.edu


Injury is the leading cause of life years lost in the United States, and uncontrolled hemorrhage is the leading cause of potentially preventable death. Traditionally, these patients have been serially resuscitated with large volumes of crystalloid and/or colloids and red blood cells, followed by smaller amounts of plasma and platelets. Transfusion data coming first from the ongoing war in Iraq and Afghanistan and followed by multiple civilian studies have brought into question this tradition-based practice. Numerous recent retrospective single and multicenter studies have associated improved outcomes with earlier and increased use of plasma and platelets. These data have stimulated significant interest in studying massively transfused trauma patients. Most clinicians have concluded that the optimal timing and quantity of blood products in the treatment of hypothermic, coagulopathic, and acidotic trauma patients are unclear. Although there are strongly held opinions and long-standing traditions in their use, there are little quality data within which to logically guide resuscitation therapy. A multicenter prospective observational study is ongoing, and randomized trials are planned. This review will address the issues raised previously and describe recent trauma patient outcome data utilizing predetermined plasma:platelet:red blood cell transfusion ratios, and possibilities for future transfusion products and research.

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