Hypotensive resuscitation strategy reduces transfusion requirements and severe postoperative coagulopathy in trauma patients with hemorrhagic shock: preliminary results of a randomized controlled trial

J Trauma. 2011 Mar;70(3):652-63. doi: 10.1097/TA.0b013e31820e77ea.


Background: Trauma is a leading cause of death worldwide and is thus a major public health concern. Previous studies have shown that limiting the amount of fluids given by following a strategy of permissive hypotension during the initial resuscitation period may improve trauma outcomes. This study examines the clinical outcomes from the first 90 patients enrolled in a prospective, randomized controlled trial of hypotensive resuscitation, with the primary aim of assessing the effects of a limited transfusion and intravenous (IV) fluid strategy on 30-day morbidity and mortality.

Methods: Patients in hemorrhagic shock who required emergent surgery were randomized to one of the two arms of the study for intraoperative resuscitation. Those in the experimental (low mean arterial pressure [LMAP]) arm were managed with a hypotensive resuscitation strategy in which the target mean arterial pressure (MAP) was 50 mm Hg. Those in the control (high MAP [HMAP]) arm were managed with standard fluid resuscitation to a target MAP of 65 mm Hg. Patients were followed up for 30 days. Intraoperative fluid requirements, mortality, postoperative complications, and other clinical data were prospectively gathered and analyzed.

Results: Patients in the LMAP group received a significantly less blood products and total i.v. fluids during intraoperative resuscitation than those in the HMAP group. They had significantly lower mortality in the early postoperative period and a nonsignificant trend for lower mortality at 30 days. Patients in the LMAP group were significantly less likely to develop immediate postoperative coagulopathy and less likely to die from postoperatively bleeding associated with coagulopathy. Among those who developed coagulopathy in both groups, patients in the LMAP group had significantly lower international normalized ratio than those in the HMAP group, indicating a less severe coagulopathy.

Conclusions: Hypotensive resuscitation is a safe strategy for use in the trauma population and results in a significant reduction in blood product transfusions and overall IV fluid administration. Specifically, resuscitating patients with the intent of maintaining a target minimum MAP of 50 mm Hg, rather than 65 mm Hg, significantly decreases postoperative coagulopathy and lowers the risk of early postoperative death and coagulopathy. These preliminary results provide convincing evidence that support the continued investigation and use of hypotensive resuscitation in the trauma setting.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Coagulation Disorders / mortality
  • Blood Coagulation Disorders / physiopathology
  • Blood Coagulation Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Blood Transfusion / statistics & numerical data*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Fluid Therapy / methods
  • Humans
  • Hypotension / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Monitoring, Intraoperative
  • Multiple Trauma / mortality
  • Multiple Trauma / physiopathology
  • Multiple Trauma / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications / mortality
  • Postoperative Complications / physiopathology
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Regression Analysis
  • Resuscitation / methods*
  • Shock, Hemorrhagic / mortality
  • Shock, Hemorrhagic / physiopathology
  • Shock, Hemorrhagic / therapy*
  • Survival Rate