Impact of plasma transfusion in trauma patients who do not require massive transfusion

J Am Coll Surg. 2010 Jun;210(6):957-65. doi: 10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2010.01.031. Epub 2010 Apr 28.


Background: For trauma patients requiring massive blood transfusion, aggressive plasma usage has been demonstrated to confer a survival advantage. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of plasma administration in nonmassively transfused patients.

Study design: Trauma patients admitted to a Level I trauma center (2000-2005) requiring a nonmassive transfusion (<10 U packed RBC [PRBC] within 12 hours of admission) were identified retrospectively. Propensity scores were calculated to match and compare patients receiving plasma in the first 12 hours with those who did not.

Results: The 1,716 patients (86.1% of 1,933 who received PRBC transfusion) received a nonmassive transfusion. After exclusion of 31 (1.8%) early deaths, 284 patients receiving plasma were matched to patients who did not. There was no improvement in survival with plasma transfusion (17.3% versus 14.1%; p = 0.30) irrespective of the plasma-to-PRBC ratio achieved. However, the overall complication rate was significantly higher for patients receiving plasma (26.8% versus 18.3%, odds ratio [OR] = 1.7; 95% CI, 1.1-2.4; p = 0.016). As the volume of plasma increased, an increase in complications was seen, reaching 37.5% for patients receiving >6 U. The ARDS rate specifically was also significantly higher in patients receiving plasma (9.9% versus 3.5%, OR = 3.0; 95% CI, 1.4-6.2; p = 0.004]. Patients receiving >6 U plasma had a 12-fold increase in ARDS, a 6-fold increase in multiple organ dysfunction syndrome, and a 4-fold increase in pneumonia and sepsis.

Conclusions: For nonmassively transfused trauma patients, plasma administration was associated with a substantial increase in complications, in particular ARDS, with no improvement in survival. An increase in multiple organ dysfunction, pneumonia, and sepsis was likewise seen as increasing volumes of plasma were transfused. The optimal trigger for initiation of a protocol for aggressive plasma infusion warrants prospective evaluation.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Component Transfusion / adverse effects
  • Blood Component Transfusion / methods*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Glasgow Coma Scale
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Logistic Models
  • Los Angeles / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Trauma / blood
  • Multiple Trauma / mortality
  • Multiple Trauma / therapy*
  • Plasma*
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Survival Rate
  • Trauma Centers
  • Treatment Outcome