Background: Modern warfare causes severe injuries, and despite rapid transportation to theater regional trauma centers, casualties frequently arrive coagulopathic and in shock. Massive hemorrhage management includes transfusion of red blood cells and plasma in a 1:1 ratio. Fresh frozen plasma requires thawing and badly fits the emergency criteria. Since 1994, the French Military Blood Bank has been producing freeze-dried plasma (FDP) and providing it for overseas operation. The aim of our study was to evaluate the use of FDP in war settings and to assess its clinical efficiency and safety.
Patients: We performed a prospective study of the FDP delivered at the International Security Assistance Force Role 3 Military Medical Treatment Facility in the Kabul Afghanistan International Airport between February 2010 and February 2011. We included every patient who received at least one unit of FDP. Basic clinical data were recorded at admission. Transfusion requirements were monitored. Biological testing were performed before and after administration of FDP including hemoglobin concentration, platelets count, fibrinogen level, prothrombin time (PT), and thromboelastography.
Results: Eighty-seven casualties received FDP during 93 episodes of transfusion. On average, 3.5 FDP units were transfused per episodes of transfusion. Of the 87 patients studied, 7 died because of nonsurvivable injuries and outcomes were unavailable for 11. The other 59 patients survived. PT significantly declined by an average of 3.3 seconds after FDP transfusion. This moderate decrease in PT reflects continued bleeding and resuscitation. It nevertheless suggests improvement in hemostasis before surgical control of bleeding. All FDP users reported ease of use, clinically observed efficacy equivalent to fresh frozen plasma and the absence of adverse effects associated with FDP.
Conclusion: Our results provide evidence of the effectiveness of FDP for the prevention or correction of coagulopathy and hemorrhage in combat casualties.