Use of Plasma-Based Trauma Transfusion Protocols at Level IV Trauma Centers

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Early initiation of a high ratio massive transfusion can lower trauma patient mortality by 80%. Long transport times from rural Level IV trauma centers therefore require that damage control resuscitation begin before patient transfer. This study evaluates the current use of fresh frozen plasma (FFP) at Level IV trauma centers and the feasibility of implementing trauma transfusion protocols at these centers. Demographic and clinical data were collected for trauma patients at all state Level IV trauma centers who would have met criteria for massive transfusion protocol (MTP) activation based on the Assessment of Blood Consumption (ABC) score. All state Level IV trauma centers were also surveyed to determine availability of blood bank plasma resources. A total of 760 adult trauma patients presented to a Level IV trauma center during the study period. Three hundred sixty-eight patients (48.4%) were transferred to a higher level of care. Because FAST (Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma) results were not available in the state registry data, we included all blunt trauma patients with an ABC score of 1 as “potential ABC-positive patients.” Forty-two (5.5%) patients were potentially ABC positive. Fifteen of 22 Level IV centers responded to our survey. Seventy-three percent of respondents have FFP available. Mean time to FFP availability was 63.1 min. Median total length of stay from registration to emergency department discharge for potentially ABC-positive patients was 2 hr. Because most Level IV trauma centers have FFP and thaw times are such that administration would not delay transport to a higher level of care, we recommend implementation of MTPs at Level IV trauma centers to reduce hemorrhage-associated mortality.

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