Pro-Con Debate: Viscoelastic Hemostatic Assays Should Replace Fixed Ratio Massive Transfusion Protocols in Trauma

Anesth Analg. 2022 Jan 1;134(1):21-31. doi: 10.1213/ANE.0000000000005709.


Major trauma patients at risk of traumatic coagulopathy are commonly treated with early clotting factor replacement to maintain hemostasis and prevent microvascular bleeding. In the United States, trauma transfusions are often dosed by empiric, low-ratio massive transfusion protocols, which pair plasma and platelets in some ratio relative to the red cells, such as the "1:1:1" combination of 1 units of red cells, 1 unit of plasma, and 1 donor's worth of pooled platelets. Empiric transfusion increases the rate of overtransfusion when unnecessary blood products are administered based on a formula and not on at patient's hemostatic profile. Viscoelastic hemostatic assays (VHAs) are point-of-care hemostatic assays that provided detailed information about abnormal clotting pathways. VHAs are used at many centers to better target hemostatic therapies in trauma. This Pro/Con section will address whether VHA guidance should replace empiric fixed ratio protocols in major trauma.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Coagulation Disorders / blood
  • Blood Coagulation Factors
  • Blood Coagulation Tests / methods*
  • Blood Transfusion / methods
  • Blood Transfusion / standards*
  • Elasticity
  • Emergency Medicine / methods
  • Emergency Medicine / standards*
  • Hemorrhage / therapy*
  • Hemostasis*
  • Humans
  • Plasma
  • Point-of-Care Testing
  • Resuscitation
  • Transfusion Reaction
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Viscosity
  • Wounds and Injuries / therapy*


  • Blood Coagulation Factors