Journal Article

Coagulopathy and blood component transfusion in trauma

D. R. Spahn and R. Rossaint

in BJA: British Journal of Anaesthesia

Published on behalf of the British Journal of Anaesthesia

Volume 95, issue 2, pages 130-139
Published in print August 2005 | ISSN: 0007-0912
Published online June 2005 | e-ISSN: 1471-6771 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bja/aei169
Coagulopathy and blood component transfusion in trauma

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Trauma is a serious global health problem, accounting for approximately one in 10 deaths worldwide. Uncontrollable bleeding accounts for 39% of trauma-related deaths and is the leading cause of potentially preventable death in patients with major trauma. While bleeding from vascular injury can usually be repaired surgically, coagulopathy-related bleeding is often more difficult to manage and may also mask the site of vascular injury. The causes of coagulopathy in patients with severe trauma are multifactorial, including consumption and dilution of platelets and coagulation factors, as well as dysfunction of platelets and the coagulation system. The interplay between hypothermia, acidosis and progressive coagulopathy, referred to as the ‘lethal triad’, often results in exsanguination. Current management of coagulopathy-related bleeding is based on blood component replacement therapy. However, there is a limit on the level of haemostasis that can be restored by replacement therapy. In addition, there is evidence that transfusion of red blood cells immediately after injury increases the incidence of post-injury infection and multiple organ failure. Strategies to prevent significant coagulopathy and to control critical bleeding effectively in the presence of coagulopathy may decrease the requirement for blood transfusion, thereby improving clinical outcome of patients with major trauma.

Keywords: blood, haemostasis; blood, transfusion; complications, bleeding; complications, coagulopathy; complications, injury; complications, trauma

Journal Article.  7532 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anaesthetics

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