The impact of providing blood to the scene of an accident on transfusion laboratory practice

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Abstract

Background:

Haemorrhage is the leading cause of mortality during trauma. In 2012, London's Air Ambulance introduced Blood on Board (BOB), transfusing group O red cells (RBC) to trauma patients at the scene.

Objectives:

This study assessed the impact of BOB on the number of mixed field samples received by the laboratory, the number of group O RBC transfused to non-group O patients and the ratio of RBC to fresh frozen plasma (FFP) transfused in the initial 24 h.

Methods:

Three major trauma centres collected data on patients for whom the major haemorrhage protocol was activated between August 2008 and February 2012 pre-BOB and March 2012 and December 2013 post-BOB.

Results:

A total of 233 trauma patients were identified pre-BOB and 119 post-BOB. There was no significant difference in the percentage of group O units transfused to non-group O patients (75 vs 82%, P = 0·21) or the RBC : FFP ratio (pre-BOB mean 1·6 [interquartile range (IQR) 1·0–2·0]; post-BOB mean 1·7 [IQR 1·1–2·2], P = 0·24). There was no significant difference in the percentage of mixed field samples received (23% vs 27%, P = 0·3).

Conclusion:

The introduction of BOB did not change the proportion of group O RBC transfused or the RBC : FFP ratio; however, the proportion of acceptable samples decreased. This is largely due to an increase in blood samples not received from the post-BOB cohort, which we believe is probably due to patients who died at the scene. We have introduced robust systems to indicate reasons for not obtaining samples.

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