Following COVID and the subsequent blood shortage, several investigators evaluated futility cut-points in massive transfusion. We hypothesized that early, aggressive use of damage control resuscitation, including whole blood (WB), would demonstrate that these cut-points of futility were significantly underestimating potential survival among patients receiving >50 units of blood in the first four hours.
Adult trauma patients admitted from 11/2017-10/2021 who received emergency-release blood products in prehospital or ED setting were included. Deaths within 30 min of arrival were excluded. Total blood products were defined as total RBC, plasma, WB in the field and in the first 4 hours after arrival. Patients were first divided into those receiving ≤50 or > 50 units of blood in the first 4 hours. We then evaluated patients by whether they received any WB or received only component therapy (COMP). 30-day survival was evaluated for all included patients.
2,299 patients met inclusion (2,043 in ≤50 U, 256 in >50 U groups). While there were no differences in age or gender, the >50 U group was more likley to sustain penetrating injury (47 vs 30%, p < 0.05). Patients receiving >50 U of blood had lower field and arrival blood pressure and larger prehospital and ED resuscitation volumes (p < 0.05). Patients in the >50 U group had lower survival than those in the ≤50 cohort (31 vs 79%; p < 0.05). Patients who received WB (n = 1,291) had 43% increased odds of survival compared to those who received COMP (n = 1,008)(1.09-1.87, p = 0.009) as well as higher 30-day survival at transfusion volumes >50 U.
Patient survival rates in patients receiving >50 units of blood in the first 4 hours of care are as high as 50-60%, with survival still at 15-25% after 100 units. While responsible blood stewardship is critical, futility should not be declared based on high transfusion volumes alone.
Level of Evidence
Level III, Retrospective comparative study without negative criteria