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Open Access Highly Accessed Commentary

Unanswered questions in the use of blood component therapy in trauma

Steven R Allen and Jeffry L Kashuk*

Author Affiliations

Division of Trauma, Acute Care, and Critical Care Surgery, Department of Surgery, Penn State Hershey Medical Center, College of Medicine, Hershey, PA, USA

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Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine 2011, 19:5  doi:10.1186/1757-7241-19-5

Published: 17 January 2011

Abstract

Recent advances in our approach to blood component therapy in traumatic hemorrhage have resulted in a reassessment of many of the tenants of management which were considered standards of therapy for many years. Indeed, despite the use of damage control techniques, the mortality from trauma induced coagulopathy has not changed significantly over the past 30 years. More specifically, a resurgence of interest in postinjury hemostasis has generated controversies in three primary areas: 1) The pathogenesis of trauma induced coagulopathy 2) The optimal ratio of blood components administered via a pre-emptive schedule for patients at risk for this condition, ("damage control resuscitation"), and 3) The appropriate use of monitoring mechanisms of coagulation function during the phase of active management of trauma induced coaguopathy, which we have previously termed "goal directed therapy". Accordingly, recent experience from both military and civilian centers have begun to address these controversies, with certain management trends emerging which appear to significantly impact the way we approach these patients.