Fresh frozen plasma (FFP) use during massive blood transfusion in trauma resuscitation

Biswadev Mitra, Alfredo Mori, Peter A Cameron, Mark Fitzgerald, Eldho Paul, Alison Street
Injury 2010, 41 (1): 35-9

INTRODUCTION: Recent retrospective studies have found high fresh frozen plasma (FFP) to packed red blood cell (PRBC) ratios during trauma resuscitation to be associated with improved mortality. Whilst this association may be related to a mortality bias present in these studies, there has been an overall tendency towards a 1:1 FFP:PRBC ratio in massive transfusion guidelines worldwide. The aim of this study was to retrospectively review the administration of FFP in patients undergoing massive transfusion during trauma resuscitation, to add to the evidence base for massive transfusion guidelines.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Multi-trauma patients who were administered blood transfusions of 5units or more of packed red blood cells (PRBCs) in the first 4h were included in this study. Mortality was the primary endpoint with length of hospital stay, ICU hours and mechanically ventilated hours secondary endpoints.

RESULTS: There were 331 patients included in this study with a median Injury Severity Score (ISS) of 36 (25-50) and a mortality of 29.9%. There was little change in the ratio of FFP:PRBC transfused per patient from 2005 to 2008. A low FFP:PRBC ratio in the first 4h of resuscitation, older age, low initial GCS and coagulopathy on presentation were significant independent factors associated with mortality. When deaths in the first 24h were excluded, the FFP:PRBC ratio had no association with mortality.

DISCUSSION: This study has shown increased initial survival in association with higher FFP:PRBC ratios during massive transfusion in a population with a high proportion of blunt injuries. The association is difficult to interpret because of an inherent survival bias. The optimal ratio of FFP:PRBC during massive transfusion may be different to 1:1 and further prospective research is required. There is now an increasing need for well designed randomised controlled trials to determine the best FFP:PRBC ratio for the resuscitation of blunt multi-trauma patients.

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