Improvements in early mortality and coagulopathy are sustained better in patients with blunt trauma after institution of a massive transfusion protocol in a civilian level I trauma center

J Trauma. 2009 Jun;66(6):1616-24. doi: 10.1097/TA.0b013e3181a59ad5.


Introduction: Transfusion practices across the country are changing with aggressive use of plasma (fresh-frozen plasma [FFP]) and platelets during massive transfusion with current military recommendations to use component therapy at a 1:1:1 ratio of packed red blood cells to FFP to platelets.

Methods: A massive transfusion protocol (MTP) was designed to achieve a packed red blood cell:FFP:platelet ratio of 1:1:1 We prospectively gathered demographic, transfusion, and patient outcome data during the first year of the MTP and compared this with a similar cohort of injured patients (pre-MTP) receiving > or = 10 red blood cell (RBC) in the first 24 hours of hospitalization before instituting the MTP.

Results: One hundred sixteen MTP activations occurred. Twelve non-trauma patients and 31 who did not receive 10 RBC (15 deaths, 16 early bleeding controls) were excluded. Seventy-three MTP patients were compared with 84 patients with pre-MTP who had similar demographics and injury severity score (29 vs. 29, p = 0.99). MTP patients received an average of 23.7 RBC and 15.6 FFP transfusions compared with 22.8 RBC (p = 0.67) and 7.6 FFP (p < 0.001) transfusions in pre-MTP patients. Early crystalloid usage dropped from 9.4 L (pre-MTP) to 6.9 L (MTP) (p = 0.006). Overall patient mortality was markedly improved at 24 hours, from 36% in the pre-MTP group to 17% in the MTP group (p = 0.008) and at 30 days (34% mortality MTP group vs. 55% mortality in pre-MTP group, p = 0.04). Blunt trauma survival improvements were more marked and more sustained than victims of penetrating trauma. Early deaths from coagulopathic bleeding occurred in 4 of 13 patients in the MTP group vs. 21 of 31 patients in the pre-MTP group (p = 0.023).

Conclusions: In the civilian setting, aggressive use of FFP and platelets drastically reduces 24-hour mortality and early coagulopathy in patients with trauma. Reduction in 30 day mortality was only seen after blunt trauma in this small subset.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Coagulation Disorders / etiology
  • Blood Coagulation Disorders / mortality*
  • Blood Component Transfusion / methods
  • Blood Transfusion / methods*
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Plasma
  • Trauma Centers
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / complications
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / mortality*