Large volume transfusion with whole blood is safe compared with component therapy

Jared Robert Gallaher, Alexandra Dixon, April Cockcroft, Maverick Grey, Elizabeth Dewey, Andrew Goodman, Martin Schreiber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND Transfusion with uncrossmatched cold-stored low-titer group O-positive or -negative whole blood (WB) in civilian trauma has been investigated as an alternative to component therapy but only in limited volumes. To our knowledge, this is the first analysis of the safety and efficacy of large volume transfusion of patients with trauma with WB. METHODS This is a retrospective cohort analysis comparing trauma patients resuscitated with component therapy (COMP) versus component therapy plus WB. The COMP group was comprised of patients who presented from January 2017 through June 2018 and the WB group from patients who presented from July 2018 through January 2019 after WB became available. We included patients if they received 1 unit of WB or red blood cells (RBCs) within 24 hours of admission and had massive transfusion protocol activated. We used bivariate analysis to compare groups. For analysis, one unit of WB equaled 1 unit of RBCs, 1 unit of plasma, and 1/6 of a unit of platelets. RESULTS Forty-two patients received WB and 83 patients received COMP with similar baseline characteristics. Patients had a median age of 41 years (interquartile range [IQR], 28-61 years) and 73% were male. Thirty percent had penetrating injuries with a median Injury Severity Score of 29 (IQR, 17-38). The WB group received a median of 6.5 units (IQR, 3-11). The WB group received significantly more component-equivalent units but with a plasma/RBC ratio of 0.94:1 compared with 0.8:1 (p < 0.001). There were no differences in 24-hour mortality (COMP, 27% vs. WB, 29%, p = 0.8) or 30-day mortality (COMP, 46% vs. WB, 58% p = 0.2). There were no transfusion reactions. CONCLUSION Transfusion utilizing primarily WB in civilian trauma is feasible, even in large volumes. It appears to be a safe and effective addition to component therapy and may lead to a more balanced resuscitation but with more overall product used. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE Therapeutic study, Level IV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)238-245
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • Whole blood
  • component therapy
  • damage-control resuscitation
  • massive transfusion
  • traumatic hemorrhage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Large volume transfusion with whole blood is safe compared with component therapy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this