Episode 16: “Blood”



There is the potential for significant controversy in this month’s episode – and we would really appreciate the feedback of the prehospital community on this one.

We have held the ‘no clear fluids’ mantra close to our hearts for most of our prehospital careers. We ‘know’ that giving sea water to our patients, and diluting all of blood’s ‘good bits’ can’t be healthy. We believed in permissive hypotension – we were probably wrong.

Priorities for the bleeding trauma patient must include:

  • Minimum time to control of bleeding (tourniquets / haemostatics / knife / interventional radiology)
  • Normothermia
  • Appropriate choice of destination (knife / IR)
  • ? Early correction of hypotension (especially if blunt trauma / associated head injury)

The balances of harms in the context of blunt trauma between the negative effects of infusing saline versus the negative effects of hypotension are unknown and prehospital actions need to be customised to an individual patient and situation.

In systems in which a potentially less harmful resuscitation strategy can be delivered sooner – PH systems with packed red cells / fresh frozen plasma / whole blood or freeze dried plasma, then it seems pragmatic to aim for normotension (predicted normal blood pressure) sooner in the patient’s care timeline than we have been e.g. at one hour. In patients with penetrating trauma permissive hypotension may remain useful for longer or at least until a patient can be differentiated and the bleeding controlled.

Lots to think about!



RePhill Trial Homepage: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/mds/trials/bctu/trials/portfolio-v/Rephill/index.aspx

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