Purpose of review: The purpose of this review is to highlight the use of tranexamic acid, point-of-care testing, algorithm-based treatment of trauma-associated coagulopathy with factor concentrates to reduce blood loss and transfusion requirements in order to improve outcome. In addition, the management of patients on new oral anticoagulants, drugs with renewed interest and the tolerance of relatively low hemoglobin levels in the context of trauma will be discussed.
Recent findings: Early administration of tranexamic acid reduces mortality without increasing the risk of thromboembolic events. Point-of-care testing is increasingly recommended. Goal-directed individualized coagulation algorithms with the use of factor concentrates allow reducing the amount of allogeneic blood products to be administered. Treatment of trauma patients with one of the new oral anticoagulants is challenging. Furthermore, new mechanisms have been discovered such as deep neuromuscular blockade to better tolerate acute anemia.
Summary: Applying Patient Blood Management concept to the trauma patient is possible and efficacious. Antihyperfibrinolytics such as tranexamic acid, point-of-care testing and coagulation algorithms with the use of factor concentrates allow a reduction of the number of transfusions, the costs and will likely ameliorate outcome of major trauma patients.