Initiation and Termination of Massive Transfusion Protocols: Current Strategies and Future Prospects
The advent of massive transfusion protocols (MTP) has had a significant positive impact on hemorrhaging trauma patient morbidity and mortality. Nevertheless, societal MTP guidelines and individual MTPs at academic institutions continue to circulate opposing recommendations on topics critical to MTPs. This narrative review discusses up-to-date information on 2 such topics, the initiation and termination of an MTP. The discussion for each begins with a review of the recommendations and supporting literature presented by MTP guidelines from 3 prominent societies, the American Society of Anesthesiologists, the American College of Surgeons, and the task force for Advanced Bleeding Care in Trauma. This is followed by an in-depth analysis of the main components within those recommendations. Societal recommendations on MTP initiation in hemorrhaging trauma patients emphasize the use of retrospectively validated massive transfusion (MT) prediction score, specifically, the Assessment of Blood Consumption and Trauma-Associated Severe Hemorrhage scores. Validation studies have shown that both scoring systems perform similarly. Both scores reliably identify patients that will not require an MT, while simultaneously overpredicting MT requirements. However, each scoring system has its unique advantages and disadvantages, and this review discusses how specific aspects of each scoring system can affect widespread applicability and statistical performance. In addition, we discuss the often overlooked topic of initiating MT in nontrauma patients and the specific tools physicians have to guide the MT initiation decision in this unique setting. Despite the serious complications that can arise with transfusion of large volumes of blood products, there is considerably less research pertinent to the topic of MTP termination. Societal recommendations on MTP termination emphasize applying clinical reasoning to identify patients who have bleeding source control and are adequately resuscitated. This review, however, focuses primarily on the recommendations presented by the Advanced Bleeding Care in Trauma’s MTP guidelines that call for prompt termination of the algorithm-guided model of resuscitation and rapidly transitioning into a resuscitation model guided by laboratory test results. We also discuss the evidence in support of laboratory result–guided resuscitation and how recent literature on viscoelastic hemostatic assays, although limited, highlights the potential to achieve additional benefits from this method of resuscitation.