To evaluate transfusion practices in multiple injured patients and to demonstrate changes in the pattern of packed red blood cell (pRBC) transfusions over the last one-and-half decade (1993-2006). A retrospective analysis using the German Trauma Registry database (DGU-Traumaregister) including 29 353 multiple injured patients was conducted. The study population included primary admissions presenting to the emergency room (ER) with clinical and laboratory signs of active haemorrhage [haemoglobin < 9 g × dL−1, platelets < 90000 × μL−1 and prothrombin time (Quick-value) < 60%]. The pattern of pRBC transfusions was followed from ER to intensive care unit (ICU) admission. A total of 5389 patients with complete data sets were divided into the following three groups according to the year of treatment and analysed: (a) group 1: 1993-1998 (n = 870), (b) group 2: 1999-2002 (n = 2044) and (c) group 3: 2003-2006 (n = 2475). Patients had a mean age of 40.5 (±20) years and were predominantly male (67.2%). All patients were substantially injured (mean injury severity score = 32 ± 15.5) and in 93% the mechanism of injury was blunt. The percentage of patients who received pRBC transfusions between ER and ICU dropped from 72% in 1993-1998 to 54% in 2003-2006 (P < 0.005). Similarly, the percentage of patients receiving mass transfusions (> 10 pRBC units) dropped from 51.3 to 17.1%. This decline was accompanied by lower incidence rates for septic complications, ventilator days, ICU length-of-stay and mortality. pRBC transfusion practices in acute trauma care have changed substantially over the last one-and-half decade and were associated with better outcome.