The impact of prehospital whole blood on hemorrhaging trauma patients: A multi-center retrospective study

Maxwell A. Braverman, Steven G. Schauer, Angelo Ciaraglia, Erika Brigmon, Alison A. Smith, Lauran Barry, James Bynum, Andrew D. Cap, Hannah Corral, Andrew D. Fisher, Eric Epley, Rachelle B. Jonas, Michael Shiels, Elizabeth Waltman, Christopher Winckler, Brian J. Eastridge, Ronald M. Stewart, Susannah E. Nicholson, Donald H. Jenkins*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND Whole blood (WB) use has become increasingly common in trauma centers across the United States for both in-hospital and prehospital resuscitation. We hypothesize that prehospital WB (pWB) use in trauma patients with suspected hemorrhage will result in improved hemodynamic status and reduced in-hospital blood product requirements. METHODS The institutional trauma registries of two academic level I trauma centers were queried for all patients from 2015-2019 who underwent transfusion upon arrival to the trauma bay. Patients who were dead on arrival or had isolated head injuries were excluded. Demographics, injury and shock characteristics, transfusion requirements, including massive transfusion protocol (MTP) (>10 U in 24 hours) and rapid transfusion (CAT3+) and outcomes were compared between pWB and non-pWB patients. Significantly different demographic, injury characteristics and pWB were included in univariate followed by stepwise logistic regression analysis to determine the relationship with shock index (SI). Our primary objective was to determine the relationship between pWB and improved hemodynamics or reduction in blood product utilization. RESULTS A total of 171 pWB and 1391 non-pWB patients met inclusion criteria. Prehospital WB patients had a lower median Injury Severity Score (17 vs. 21, p < 0.001) but higher prehospital SI showing greater physiologic disarray. Prehospital WB was associated with improvement in SI (-0.04 vs. 0.05, p = 0.002). Mortality and (LOS) were similar. Prehospital WB patients received fewer packed red blood cells, fresh frozen plasma, and platelets units across their LOS but total units and volumes were similar. Prehospital WB patients had fewer MTPs (22.6% vs. 32.4%, p = 0.01) despite a similar requirement of CAT3+ transfusion upon arrival. CONCLUSION Prehospital WB administration is associated with a greater improvement in SI and a reduction in MTP. This study is limited by its lack of power to detect a mortality difference. Prospective randomized controlled trials will be required to determine the true impact of pWB on trauma patients. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE Prognostic and Epidemiological; Level IV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-196
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Whole blood
  • prehospital transfusion
  • shock index


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