How I treat patients with massive hemorrhage

Pär I Johansson, Jakob Stensballe, Roberto Oliveri, Charles E Wade, Sisse R Ostrowski, John B Holcomb
Blood 2014 November 13, 124 (20): 3052-8
Massive hemorrhage is associated with coagulopathy and high mortality. The transfusion guidelines up to 2006 recommended that resuscitation of massive hemorrhage should occur in successive steps using crystalloids, colloids, and red blood cells (RBCs) in the early phase and plasma and platelets in the late phase. With the introduction of the cell-based model of hemostasis in the mid-1990s, our understanding of the hemostatic process and of coagulopathy has improved. This has contributed to a change in resuscitation strategy and transfusion therapy of massive hemorrhage along with an acceptance of the adequacy of whole blood hemostatic tests to monitor these patients. Thus, in 2005, a strategy aiming at avoiding coagulopathy by proactive resuscitation with blood products in a balanced ratio of RBC:plasma:platelets was introduced, and this has been reported to be associated with reduced mortality in observational studies. Concurrently, whole blood viscoelastic hemostatic assays have gained acceptance by allowing a rapid and timely identification of coagulopathy along with enabling an individualized, goal-directed transfusion therapy. These strategies joined together seem beneficial for patient outcome, although final evidence on outcome from randomized controlled trials are lacking. We present how we in Copenhagen and Houston, today, manage patients with massive hemorrhage.

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