Practical considerations for a military whole blood program

Marshall Bahr, Andrew P. Cap, Devin Dishong, Mark H. Yazer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Introduction Prehospital care in the combat environment has always been of great importance to the U.S. military, and trauma resuscitation has remained a cornerstone. More evidence continues to demonstrate the advantages of intervention with early transfusion of blood products at the point of injury. The military has recognized these benefits; as such, the Department of Defense Joint Trauma System and the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care have developed new advanced resuscitation guidelines, which now encourage the use of whole blood (WB) in the prehospital setting. Materials and Methods This general review of peer-reviewed journal articles was performed through an extensive electronic search from the databases of PubMed Central (MEDLINE) and the Cochrane Library. Results Based on this literature search, the current evidence suggests that transfusion with WB is safe and efficacious. Additionally, soldier function is preserved after donating fresh WB in the field. Currently, the collection and implementation of WB is accomplished through several different protocol-driven techniques. Conclusion WBhas become the favored transfusion product as it provides all of the components of blood in a convenient package that is easy to store and transport. Specifically, group OWB containing low titers of anti-A and -B antibodies has become the transfusion product of choice, offering the ability to universally fluid resuscitate patients despite not knowing their blood group. This new ability to obtain low titer group OWB has transformed the approach to the management of hemorrhagic shock in the prehospital combat environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E1032-E1038
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes


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