Initial experiences with point-of-care rapid thrombelastography for management of life-threatening postinjury coagulopathy

Transfusion. 2012 Jan;52(1):23-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1537-2995.2011.03264.x. Epub 2011 Jul 25.


Background: Massive transfusion (MTP) protocol design is hindered by lack of accurate assessment of coagulation. Rapid thrombelastography (r-TEG) provides point-of-care (POC) analysis of clot formation. We designed a prospective study to test the hypothesis that integrating TEG into our MTP would facilitate goal-directed therapy and provide equivalent outcomes compared to conventional coagulation testing.

Study design and methods: Thiry-four patients who received more than 6 units of red blood cells (RBCs)/6 hours who were admitted to our Level 1 trauma center after r-TEG implementation (TEG) were compared to 34 patients admitted prior to TEG implementation (Pre-TEG). Data are presented as mean±SEM.

Results: Emergency department pre-TEG versus TEG shock, and coagulation indices, were not different: systolic blood pressure (94 mmHg vs. 101 mmHg), temperature (35.3°C vs. 35.9°C), pH (7.16 vs. 7.11), base deficit (-13.0 vs. -14.7), lactate (6.5 vs. 8.1), international normalized ratio (INR; 1.59 vs. 1.83), and partial thromboplastin time (48.3 vs. 57.9). Although not significant, patients with Injury Severity Score range 26 to 35 were more frequent in the pre-TEG group. Fresh-frozen plasma (FFP):RBCs, platelets:RBCs, and cryoprecipitate (cryo):RBC ratios were not significantly different at 6 or 12 hours. INR at 6 hours did not discriminate between survivors and nonsurvivors (p=0.10), whereas r-TEG "G" value was significantly associated with survival (p=0.03), as was the maximum rate of thrombin generation (MRTG; mm/min) and total thrombin generation (TG; area under the curve) (p=0.03 for both). Patients with MRTG of more than 9.2 received significantly less components of RBCs, FFP, and cryo (p=0.048, p=0.03, and p=0.04, respectively).

Conclusion: Goal-directed resuscitation via r-TEG appears useful for management of trauma-induced coagulopathy. Further experience with POC monitoring could result in more efficient management leading to a reduction of transfusion requirements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Coagulation Disorders / therapy*
  • Blood Component Transfusion
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Thrombelastography*
  • Trauma Centers / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult