Objective: To determine the effectiveness of blood component therapy in the correction of trauma-induced coagulopathy during hemorrhage.
Background: Severe hemorrhage remains a leading cause of mortality in trauma. Damage control resuscitation strategies target trauma-induced coagulopathy (TIC) with the early delivery of high-dose blood components such as fresh frozen plasma (FFP) and platelet transfusions. However, the ability of these products to correct TIC during hemorrhage and resuscitation is unknown.
Methods: This was an international prospective cohort study of bleeding trauma patients at three major trauma centers. A blood sample was drawn immediately on arrival and after 4, 8 and 12 packed red blood cell (PRBC) transfusions. FFP, platelet and cryoprecipitate use was recorded during these intervals. Samples were analyzed for functional coagulation and procoagulant factor levels.
Results: One hundred six patients who received at least four PRBC units were included. Thirty-four patients (32 %) required a massive transfusion. On admission 40 % of patients were coagulopathic (ROTEM CA5 ≤ 35 mm). This increased to 58 % after four PRBCs and 81 % after eight PRBCs. On average all functional coagulation parameters and procoagulant factor concentrations deteriorated during hemorrhage. There was no clear benefit to high-dose FFP therapy in any parameter. Only combined high-dose FFP, cryoprecipitate and platelet therapy with a high total fibrinogen load appeared to produce a consistent improvement in coagulation.
Conclusions: Damage control resuscitation with standard doses of blood components did not consistently correct trauma-induced coagulopathy during hemorrhage. There is an important opportunity to improve TIC management during damage control resuscitation.