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ABSTRACT: This study was undertaken to determine if, amongst civilian trauma patients requiring massive transfusion (MT), the use of a formal trauma transfusion pathway (TTP), in comparison with transfusion without a TTP, is associated with a reduction in mortality, or changes in indices of coagulation, blood product utilisation and complications. A systematic review of three bibliographic databases, reference lists and conference proceedings was conducted. Studies were included if comparisons were made between patients receiving transfusion with and without a TTP. Data were extracted by two independent reviewers on population characteristics, transfusion strategies, blood product utilisation, indices of coagulation, clinical outcomes and complications. Data were pooled using a random effects model and heterogeneity explored. Seven observational studies met all eligibility criteria. Amongst 1801 patients requiring MT, TTPs were associated with a significant reduction in mortality (RR 0·69, 95% CI 0·55, 0·87). No significant increase in the mean number of PRBC transfused between TTP and control patients was seen (MD -1·17 95% CI -2·70, 0·36). When studies assessing only trauma patients were considered, TTPs were associated with a reduction in the mean number of units of plasma transfused (MD -2·63, 95% CI -4·24, -1·01). In summary, the use of TTPs appears to be associated with a reduction in mortality amongst trauma patients requiring MT without a clinically significant increase in the number of PRBC transfused and a potential reduction in plasma transfusion. Effects of TTPs on platelet transfusion, indices of coagulation and complications remain unclear. A randomised controlled trial is warranted.
Transfusion Medicine 04/2012; 22(3):156-66. · 1.26 Impact Factor