JOURNAL ARTICLE

Balanced massive transfusion ratios in multiple injury patients with traumatic brain injury

Sigune Peiniger, Ulrike Nienaber, Rolf Lefering, Maximilian Braun, Arasch Wafaisade, Sebastian Wutzler, Matthew Borgmann, Philip C Spinella, Marc Maegele
Critical Care: the Official Journal of the Critical Care Forum 2011, 15 (1): R68
21342499

INTRODUCTION: Retrospective studies have demonstrated a potential survival benefit from transfusion strategies using an early and more balanced ratio between fresh frozen plasma (FFP) concentration and packed red blood cell (pRBC) transfusions in patients with acute traumatic coagulopathy requiring massive transfusions. These results have mostly been derived from non-head-injured patients. The aim of the present study was to analyze whether a regime using a high FFP:pRBC transfusion ratio (FFP:pRBC ratio >1:2) would be associated with a similar survival benefit in severely injured patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) (Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) score, head ≥ 3) as demonstrated for patients without TBI requiring massive transfusion (≥ 10 U of pRBCs).

METHODS: A retrospective analysis of severely injured patients from the Trauma Registry of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Unfallchirurgie (TR-DGU) was conducted. Inclusion criteria were primary admission, age ≥ 16 years, severe injury (Injury Severity Score (ISS) ≥ 16) and massive transfusion (≥ 10 U of pRBCs) from emergency room to intensive care unit (ICU). Patients were subdivided into patients with TBI (AIS score, head ≥ 3) and patients without TBI (AIS score, head <3), as well as according to the transfusion ratio they had received: high FFP:pRBC ratio (FFP:pRBC ratio >1:2) and low FFP:pRBC ratio (FFP:pRBC ratio ≤1:2). In addition, morbidity and mortality between the two groups were compared.

RESULTS: A total of 1,250 data sets of severely injured patients from the TR-DGU between 2002 and 2008 were analyzed. The mean patient age was 42 years, the majority of patients were male (72.3%), the mean ISS was 41.7 points (±15.4 SD) and the principal mechanism of injury was blunt force trauma (90%). Mortality was statistically lower in the high FFP:pRBC ratio groups versus the low FFP:pRBC ratio groups, regardless of the presence or absence of TBI and across all time points studied (P < 0.001). The frequency of sepsis and multiple organ failure did not differ among groups, except for sepsis in patients with TBI who received a high FFP:pRBC ratio transfusion. Other secondary end points such as ventilator-free days, length of stay in the ICU and overall in-hospital length of stay differed significantly between the two study groups, but not when only data for survivors were analyzed.

CONCLUSIONS: These results add more detailed knowledge to the concept of a high FFP:pRBC ratio during early aggressive resuscitation, including massive transfusion, to decrease mortality in severely injured patients both with and without accompanying TBI. Future research should be conducted with a larger number of patients to prove these results in a prospective study.

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