Does resuscitation with plasma increase the risk of venous thromboembolism?

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Resuscitation with blood products improves survival in patients with traumatic hemorrhage. However, the risk of venous thromboembolic (VTE) complications associated with fresh frozen plasma (FFP) resuscitation is unknown. We hypothesized that a higher ratio of FFP to packed red blood cells (PRBCs) given during acute resuscitation increases the risk of VTE independent of severity of injury and shock.

METHODS

The records of patients admitted from April 2007 to December 2011 who had surveillance lower extremity duplex ultrasounds were retrospectively reviewed. Patients who received at least 1 U of PRBCs within 24 hours of admission were included. Patients who died without VTE were excluded. The relationship between FFP and VTE was evaluated using logistic regression.

RESULTS

A total of 381 patients met inclusion criteria, of whom 77 (20.2%) developed VTE. In patients who required less than 4 U of PRBCs, increasing units of FFP were associated with an increasing risk for VTE, with each unit of FFP having an adjusted odds ratio of 1.27 (95% confidence interval, 1.04–1.54, p = 0.015). Conversely, in patients who required four or greater units of PRBCs, FFP in equal or greater ratios than PRBCs was not associated with VTE.

CONCLUSION

Each unit of FFP increased VTE risk by 25% in patients who required less than 4 U of PRBCs. In patients who required 4 U or greater PRBCs, FFP administration conferred no increased risk of VTE. This suggests that FFP should be used cautiously when early hemodynamic stability can be achieved with less than 4 U of PRBCs.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE

Care management study, level III.

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