Systematic reviews of scores and predictors to trigger activation of massive transfusion protocols

J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2019 Sep;87(3):717-729. doi: 10.1097/TA.0000000000002372.


Background: The use of massive transfusion protocols (MTPs) in the resuscitation of hemorrhaging trauma patients ensures rapid delivery of blood products to improve outcomes, where the decision to trigger MTPs early is important. Scores and tools to predict the need for MTP activation have been developed for use to aid with clinical judgment. We performed a systematic review to assess (1) the scores and tools available to predict MTP in trauma patients, (2) their clinical value and diagnostic accuracies, and (3) additional predictors of MTP.

Methods: MEDLINE, EMBASE, and CENTRAL were searched from inception to June 2017. All studies that utilized scores or predictors of MTP activation in adult (age, ≥18 years) trauma patients were included. Data collection for scores and tools included reported sensitivities and specificities and accuracy as defined by the area under the curve of the receiver operating characteristic.

Results: Forty-five articles were eligible for analysis, with 11 validated and four unvalidated scores and tools assessed. Of four scores using clinical assessment, laboratory values, and ultrasound assessment the modified Traumatic Bleeding Severity Score had the best performance. Of those scores, the Trauma Associated Severe Hemorrhage score is most well validated and has higher area under the curve of the receiver operating characteristic than the Assessment of Blood Consumption and Prince of Wales scores. Without laboratory results, the Assessment of Blood Consumption score balances accuracy with ease of use. Without ultrasound use, the Vandromme and Schreiber scores have the highest accuracy and sensitivity respectively. The Shock Index uses clinical assessment only with fair performance. Other clinical variables, laboratory values, and use of point-of-care testing results were identified predictors of MTP activation.

Conclusion: The use of scores or tools to predict MTP need to be individualized to hospital resources and skill set to aid clinical judgment. Future studies for triggering nontrauma MTP activations are needed.

Level of evidence: Systematic review, level III.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Transfusion* / methods
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Decision Support Techniques
  • Exsanguination / diagnosis
  • Exsanguination / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Trauma Severity Indices*