Haemotherapy algorithm for the management of trauma-induced coagulopathy: an Australian perspective

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Recent advances in the understanding of the pathophysiological processes associated with traumatic haemorrhage and trauma-induced coagulopathy have resulted in improved outcomes for seriously injured trauma patients. However, a significant number of trauma patients still die from haemorrhage. This article reviews the various transfusion strategies utilized in the management of traumatic haemorrhage and describes the major haemorrhage protocol (MHP) strategy employed by an Australian trauma centre.

Recent findings

Few topics in trauma resuscitation incite as much debate and controversy as to what constitutes the ‘ideal’ MHP. There is a widespread geographical and institutional variation in clinical practice. Three strategies are commonly utilized; fixed ratio major haemorrhage protocol (FRMHP), viscoelastic haemostatic assay (VHA)-guided MHP and hybrid MHP. The majority of trauma centres utilize an FRMHP and there is high-level evidence to support the use of high blood product ratios. It can be argued that the FRMHP is too simplistic to be applied to all trauma patients and that the use of VHA-guided MHP with predominant factor concentrate transfusion can allow rapid individualized interventions. In between these two strategies is a hybrid MHP, combining early FRMHP with subsequent VHA-guided transfusion.

Summary

There are advantages and disadvantages to each of the various MHP strategies and the evidence base to support one above another with any certainty is lacking at this time. One strategy cannot be considered superior to the other and the choice of MHP is dependent on interpretation of the current literature and local institutional logistical considerations. A number of exciting studies are currently underway that will certainly increase the evidence base and help inform clinical practice.

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