Postinjury Life Threatening Coagulopathy: Is 1:1 Fresh Frozen Plasma: Packed Red Blood Cells the Answer?

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Abstract

Background:

Recent military experience suggests that immediate 1:1 fresh frozen plasma (FFP); red blood cells (RBC) for casualties requiring >10 units packed red blood cells (RBC) per 24 hours reduces mortality, but no clinical trials exist to address this issue. Consequently, we reviewed our massive transfusion practices during a 5-year period to test the hypothesis that 1:1 FFP:RBC within the first 6 hours reduces life threatening coagulopathy.

Methods:

We queried our level I trauma center’s prospective registry from 2001 to 2006 for patients undergoing massive transfusion. Logistic regression was used to evaluate the independent effect of FFP:RBC in 133 patients who received >10 units RBC in 6 hours on (1) Coagulopathy (international normalized ratio [INR] >1.5 at 6 hours), controlling for our previously described risk factors predictive of coagulopathy, as well as RBC, FFP, and platelet administration (2) Death (controlling for all variables plus age, crystalloids per 24 hours, INR >1.5 at 6 hours).

Results:

Overall mortality was 56%; 50% died from acute blood loss in the operating room. Over 80% of the RBC transfusions were completed in the first 6 hours: (Median RBC: 18 units) Median FFP:RBC survivors, 1:2, nonsurvivors: 1:4. (p < 0.001) INR >1.5 at 6 hours occurred in 30 (23%); 81% died. Regarding mortality, logistic regression showed significant variables (p < 0.05) included: RBC per 6 hours (OR = 1.248, 95%CI: 1.957–53.255), INR at 6 hours >1.5 (OR = 10.208, 95% CI: 1.957–53.255), ED temperature <34°C (OR = 15.491, 95% CI 1.376–174.396), and age >55 years (OR = 40.531, CI 5.315–309.077). The adjusted OR for FFP:RBC ratio including the quadratic term was found to follow a U-shaped association (quadratic term estimate 0.6737 ± 0.0345, p = 0.0189).

Conclusion:

Although our data suggest that 1:1 FFP:RBC reduced coagulopathy, this did not translate into a survival benefit. Our findings indicate that the relationship between coagulopathy and mortality is more complex, and further clinical investigation is necessary before recommending routine 1:1 in the exsanguinating trauma patient.

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