Coagulopathy after trauma is a major cause for uncontrolled hemorrhage in trauma victims. Approximately 40% of trauma related deaths are attributed to or caused by exsanguination. Therefore the prevention of coagulopathy is regarded as the leading cause of avoidable death in these patients. Massive hemorrhage after trauma is usually caused by a combination of surgical and coagulopathic bleeding. Coagulopathic bleeding is multifactorial, including dilution and consumption of both platelets and coagulation factors, as well as dysfunction of the coagulation system. Because of the high mortality associated with hypothermia, acidosis and progressive coagulopathy, this vicious circle is often referred to as the lethal triad, potentially leading to exsanguination. To overcome this coagulopahty-related bleeding an empiric therapy is often instituted by replacing blood components. However, the use of transfusion of red blood cells has been shown to be associated with post-injury infection and multiple organ failure. In the management of mass bleeding it is therefore crucial to have a clear strategy to prevent coagulopathy and to minimize the need for blood transfusion.
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