Consequences of Transfusing Blood Components in Patients With Trauma: A Conceptual Model

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Abstract

Transfusion of blood components is often required in resuscitation of patients with major trauma. Packed red blood cells and platelets break down and undergo chemical changes during storage (known as the storage lesion) that lead to an inflammatory response once the blood components are transfused to patients. Although some evidence supports a detrimental association between transfusion and a patient's outcome, the mechanisms connecting transfusion of stored components to outcomes remain unclear. The purpose of this review is to provide critical care nurses with a conceptual model to facilitate understanding of the relationship between the storage lesion and patients’ outcomes after trauma; outcomes related to trauma, hemorrhage, and blood component transfusion are grouped according to those occurring in the shortterm (≤30 days) and the long-term (>30 days). Complete understanding of these clinical implications is critical for practitioners in evaluating and treating patients given transfusions after traumatic injury.

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