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A Decade of Damage Control Resuscitation

New Transfusion Practice, New Survivors, New Directions

Cole, Elaine PhD*; Weaver, Anne MBBS; Gall, Lewis PhD*; West, Anita RN; Nevin, Daniel MBBS; Tallach, Rosel MBBS; O’Neill, Breda MBBS; Lahiri, Sumitra MBBS; Allard, Shubha MBBS; Tai, Nigel MBBS†,‡; Davenport, Ross PhD*,†; Green, Laura MBBS*,†,§; Brohi, Karim MBBS*,†

doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000003657
Original Article: PDF Only

Objective: The aim of this study was to identify the effects of recent innovations in trauma major hemorrhage management on outcome and transfusion practice, and to determine the contemporary timings and patterns of death.

Background: The last 10 years have seen a research-led change in hemorrhage management to damage control resuscitation (DCR), focused on the prevention and treatment of trauma-induced coagulopathy.

Methods: A 10-year retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data of trauma patients who activated the Major Trauma Centre's major hemorrhage protocol (MHP) and received at least 1 unit of red blood cell transfusions (RBC).

Results: A total of 1169 trauma patients activated the MHP and received at least 1 unit of RBC, with similar injury and admission physiology characteristics over the decade. Overall mortality declined from 45% in 2008 to 27% in 2017, whereas median RBC transfusion rates dropped from 12 to 4 units (massive transfusion rates from 68% to 24%). The proportion of deaths within 24 hours halved (33%–16%), principally with a fall in mortality between 3 and 24 hours (30%–6%). Survivors are now more likely to be discharged to their own home (57%–73%). Exsanguination is still the principal cause of early deaths, and the mortality associated with massive transfusion remains high (48%). Late deaths are now split between those due to traumatic brain injury (52%) and multiple organ dysfunction (45%).

Conclusions: There have been remarkable reductions in mortality after major trauma hemorrhage in recent years. Mortality rates continue to be high and there remain important opportunities for further improvements in these patients.

*Blizard Institute, Queen Mary University of London, London, United Kingdom

Barts Health NHS Trust, London, United Kingdom

Academic Departments of Military Surgery, Trauma and Anaesthesia, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Birmingham, United Kingdom

§NHS Blood and Transplant, London, United Kingdom.

This work was supported in part by a National Institute for Health Research Programme Grant for Applied Research (RP-PG-0407-10036), the Centre for Trauma Sciences Barts Charity award (753/1722), and the European Commission under the FP-7 HEALTH-Contract No. F3-2013-602771, entitled “Targeted Action for Curing Trauma Induced Coagulopathy” (TACTIC). TEM International GmbH (Munich, Germany) provided ROTEM reagents and equipment on an unrestricted basis.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

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