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Feasibility of prehospital freeze-dried plasma administration in a UK Helicopter Emergency Medical Service

Oakeshott, Joanna E.a,,c; Griggs, Joanne E.a; Wareham, Gary M.a; Lyon, Richard M.a,,b on behalf of Kent Surrey Sussex Air Ambulance Trust

European Journal of Emergency Medicine: October 2019 - Volume 26 - Issue 5 - p 373–378
doi: 10.1097/MEJ.0000000000000585
Original Articles

Background Early transfusion of patients with major traumatic haemorrhage may improve survival. This study aims to establish the feasibility of freeze-dried plasma transfusion in a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service in the UK.

Patients and methods A retrospective observational study of major trauma patients attended by Kent, Surrey and Sussex Helicopter Emergency Medical Service and transfused freeze-dried plasma since it was introduced in April 2014.

Results Of the 1873 patients attended over a 12-month period before its introduction, 79 patients received packed red blood cells (4.2%) with a total of 193 units transfused. Of 1881 patients after the introduction of freeze-dried plasma, 10 patients received packed red blood cells only and 66 received both packed red blood cells and freeze-dried plasma, with a total of 158 units of packed red blood cells transfused, representing an 18% reduction between the two 12-month periods. In the 20 months since its introduction, of 216 patients transfused with at least one unit of freeze-dried plasma, 116 (54.0%) patients received both freeze-dried plasma and packed red blood cells in a 1: 1 ratio. Earlier transfusion was feasible, transferring the patient to the hospital before transfusion would have incurred a delay of 71 min (interquartile range: 59–90 min).

Conclusion Prehospital freeze-dried plasma and packed red blood cell transfusion is feasible in a 1: 1 ratio in patients with suspected traumatic haemorrhage. The use of freeze-dried plasma as a first-line fluid bolus reduced the number of prehospital packed red blood cell units required and reduced the time to transfusion.

aKent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance Trust, Redhill Aerodrome, Redhill

bUniversity of Surrey, Duke of Kent Building, Guildford, UK

cMedSTAR, Medical Retrieval Service, South Australian Ambulance, South Australia, Australia

Received 27 August 2018 Accepted 13 October 2018

Correspondence to Joanne E. Griggs, MSc, Redhill Aerodrome, Redhill RH1 5YP, UK Tel: +44 016 3447 1900; e-mail:

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