Hemostatic Management of Trauma-Induced Coagulopathy
Trauma-induced coagulopathy is a primary factor in many trauma-related fatalities. Management hinges upon rapid diagnosis of coagulation abnormalities and immediate administration of appropriate hemostatic agents. Use of crystalloids and packed red blood cells has traditionally been the core of trauma resuscitation, but current massive transfusion protocols include combination therapy with fresh frozen plasma and predefined ratios of platelets to packed red blood cells, limiting crystalloid administration. Hemostatic agents such as tranexamic acid, prothrombin complex concentrate, fibrinogen concentrate, and, in cases of refractory bleeding, recombinant activated factor VIIa may also be warranted. Goal-directed resuscitation using viscoelastic tools allows specific component-centered therapy based on individual clotting abnormalities that may limit blood product use and thromboembolic risks and may lead to reduced mortality. Because of the complex management of patients with trauma-induced coagulopathy, critical care nurses must be familiar with the pathophysiology, acute diagnostics, and pharmacotherapeutic options used to treat these patients.