Initial experiences of prehospital blood product transfusions between 2016 and 2020 in Päijät-Häme hospital district, Finland

Scand J Trauma Resusc Emerg Med. 2022 Jun 6;30(1):39. doi: 10.1186/s13049-022-01027-z.


Background: Treating hemorrhaging patients with prehospital blood product transfusions (PHBT) narrows transfusion delays and potentially benefits the patient. We describe our initial experiences of PHBT in a ground-based emergency medical service (EMS), where the transfusion protocol covers both traumatic and nontraumatic hemorrhaging patients.

Methods: A descriptive retrospective analysis was performed on the records of all the patients receiving red blood cells, freeze-dried plasma, or both during prehospital care from September 2016 to December 2020. The delays of PHBT and the effects on patients' vital signs were analyzed and reported as the median and interquartile range (IQR) and analyzed using a Wilcoxon Signed rank test.

Results: 65 patients received prehospital blood product transfusions (PHBT), 29 (45%) were non-traumatic, and 36 (55%) traumatic. The main two reasons for PHBT were blunt trauma (n = 30, 46%) and gastrointestinal hemorrhage (n = 20, 31%). The median time from the emergency call to the start of PHBT was 54 min (IQR 38), and the transfusion began on a median of 61 min (IQR 42) before arrival at the hospital. The median systolic blood pressure improved from a median 76.5 mmHg (IQR 36.5) before transfusion to a median of 116.60 mmHg (IQR 26.5) (p < 0.001) on arrival to the hospital. No transfusion-related severe adverse events were noted.

Conclusions: Starting PHBT in ground-based EMS is a feasible and viable option. The PHBT began significantly earlier than it would have started on arrival to the hospital, and it seems to be safe and improve patients' physiology.

Study approval: D/2603/

Keywords: Freeze-dried plasma; Ground-based emergency medical services; Non-trauma; Packed red blood cells; Prehospital blood product transfusions; Remote damage control resuscitation; Trauma.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Transfusion
  • Emergency Medical Services* / methods
  • Finland
  • Hemorrhage / therapy
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Wounds and Injuries*