Background: Tranexamic acid (TXA) was shown to reduce overall mortality and death secondary to hemorrhage in a large prospective study. This intervention is time sensitive. As such, the Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) guidelines recommend use of this low-cost, safe intervention among patients with possible hemorrhagic shock, penetrating trauma to the thorax or trunk, or extremity amputation.
Objective: Prehospital administration of TXA by ground forces in the Afghanistan combat theater is described.
Methods: We obtained data from the Prehospital Trauma Registry. We searched for all patients with documented hypotension, amputation, or penetrating trauma to the torso.
Results: From January 2013 to September 2014, there were 272 patients who met inclusion criteria. Most injuries (97.8%; n = 266) were battle injuries. Of the 272 patients who met criteria to receive prehospital TXA, 51 (18.8%) received TXA, whereas the remaining 221 (81.2%) did not. Higher proportions of patients receiving TXA versus patients not receiving TXA received hemostatic dressings, pressure dressings, and tourniquet placement. Conversely, the proportion of patients receiving intravenous fluids was higher in the no-TXA group.
Conclusion: Overall, proportions of eligible patients receiving TXA were low despite emphasis in the guidelines. The reasons for this low adherence to TCCC guidelines are likely multifactorial. Future research should seek to identify reasons TXA is not given when indicated and to develop training and technology to increase prehospital TXA administration.