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Swift blood transfusion after trauma lowers risk of death

Swift blood transfusion after trauma lowers risk of death

Traumatically injured patients with hemorrhage benefit from a quick blood transfusion. Each delay of ten minutes in the administration raises the risk of death. That is written by researchers of the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center in The Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery.

One of the most important life-threatening complications in a traumatically injured patient is hemorrhage. To prevent death as a consequence, it is imperative to administer a blood transfusion as quick as possible. Elizabeth Powell, assistant professor of emergency medicine and colleagues researched whether the moment of transfusion influenced chances of survival.

In a retrospective study, the authors analysed the data of 94 traumatically injured patients. All of them were transferred by helicopter from the site of the accident to the hospital and received a blood transfusion within 24 hours. The majority of patients was Caucasian (93 per cent), male (70 per cent) and suffered from blunt force injuries (94 per cent). The median Injury Severity Score was 29 on a scale from 2 to 75.

Of all patients, 87 per cent received a blood transfusion on board of the helicopter or within an hour after the trauma. Analysis of the further course of events in this group showed an increase in the risk of death with delay of ten minutes in getting blood (odds ratio of 1.27 after control for Trauma and Injury Severity Score). Of the 31 patients that died after 30 days, 29 had been administered blood within the hour and 2 had received a transfusion later.

The authors state that currently, few trauma vehicles carry blood products on board. They claim that the shortening of time to infusion could ameliorate patient outcomes and that other centers could consider this option.

Sources: The Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, University of Cincinnati

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