Background: Time to treatment matters in traumatic haemorrhage but the optimal prehospital use of blood in major trauma remains uncertain. We investigated whether use of packed red blood cells (PRBC) and lyophilised plasma (LyoPlas) was superior to use of 0·9% sodium chloride for improving tissue perfusion and reducing mortality in trauma-related haemorrhagic shock.
Methods: Resuscitation with pre-hospital blood products (RePHILL) is a multicentre, allocation concealed, open-label, parallel group, randomised, controlled, phase 3 trial done in four civilian prehospital critical care services in the UK. Adults (age ≥16 years) with trauma-related haemorrhagic shock and hypotension (defined as systolic blood pressure <90 mm Hg or absence of palpable radial pulse) were assessed for eligibility by prehospital critial care teams. Eligible participants were randomly assigned to receive either up to two units each of PRBC and LyoPlas or up to 1 L of 0·9% sodium chloride administered through the intravenous or intraosseous route. Sealed treatment packs which were identical in external appearance, containing PRBC-LyoPlas or 0·9% sodium chloride were prepared by blood banks and issued to participating sites according to a randomisation schedule prepared by the co-ordinating centre (1:1 ratio, stratified by site). The primary outcome was a composite of episode mortality or impaired lactate clearance, or both, measured in the intention-to-treat population. This study is completed and registered with ISRCTN.com, ISRCTN62326938.
Findings: From Nov 29, 2016 to Jan 2, 2021, prehospital critical care teams randomly assigned 432 participants to PRBC-LyoPlas (n=209) or to 0·9% sodium chloride (n=223). Trial recruitment was stopped before it achieved the intended sample size of 490 participants due to disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The median follow-up was 9 days (IQR 1 to 34) for participants in the PRBC-LyoPlas group and 7 days (0 to 31) for people in the 0·9% sodium chloride group. Participants were mostly white (62%) and male (82%), had a median age of 38 years (IQR 26 to 58), and were mostly involved in a road traffic collision (62%) with severe injuries (median injury severity score 36, IQR 25 to 50). Before randomisation, participants had received on average 430 mL crystalloid fluids and tranexamic acid (90%). The composite primary outcome occurred in 128 (64%) of 199 participants randomly assigned to PRBC-LyoPlas and 136 (65%) of 210 randomly assigned to 0·9% sodium chloride (adjusted risk difference -0·025% [95% CI -9·0 to 9·0], p=0·996). The rates of transfusion-related complications in the first 24 h after ED arrival were similar across treatment groups (PRBC-LyoPlas 11 [7%] of 148 compared with 0·9% sodium chloride nine [7%] of 137, adjusted relative risk 1·05 [95% CI 0·46-2·42]). Serious adverse events included acute respiratory distress syndrome in nine (6%) of 142 patients in the PRBC-LyoPlas group and three (2%) of 130 in 0·9% sodium chloride group, and two other unexpected serious adverse events, one in the PRBC-LyoPlas (cerebral infarct) and one in the 0·9% sodium chloride group (abnormal liver function test). There were no treatment-related deaths.
Interpretation: The trial did not show that prehospital PRBC-LyoPlas resuscitation was superior to 0·9% sodium chloride for adult patients with trauma related haemorrhagic shock. Further research is required to identify the characteristics of patients who might benefit from prehospital transfusion and to identify the optimal outcomes for transfusion trials in major trauma. The decision to commit to routine prehospital transfusion will require careful consideration by all stakeholders.
Funding: National Institute for Health Research Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation.
Copyright © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an Open Access article under the CC BY 4.0 license. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.