Warm fresh whole blood and thoracic traumain iraq and afghanistan

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Emergencies, Trauma and Shock








Resuscitation; thoracic trauma; whole blood


Background: Thoracic trauma occurred in 10% of the patients seen at US military treatment facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan and 52% of those patients were transfused. Among those transfused, 281 patients received warm fresh whole blood. A previous report documented improved survival with warm fresh whole blood in patients injured in combat without stratification by injury pattern. A later report described an increase in acute lung injuries after its administration. Survivorship and warm fresh whole blood have never been analyzed in a subpopulation at highest risk for lung injuries, such as patients with thoracic trauma. There may be a heterogeneous relationship between whole blood and survival based on likelihood of a concomitant pulmonary injury. In this report, the relationship between warm fresh whole blood and survivorship was analyzed among patients at highest risk for concomitant pulmonary injuries. Materials and Methods: Patients with thoracic trauma who received a transfusion were identified in the Joint Theater Trauma Registry. Gross mortality rates were compared between whole blood recipients and patients transfused with component therapy only. The association between each blood component and mortality was determined in a regression model. The overall mortality risk was compared between warm fresh whole blood recipients and non-recipients. Results: Patients transfused with warm fresh whole blood in addition to component therapy had a higher mortality rate than patients transfused only separated blood components (21.3% vs. 12.8%, P < 0.001). When controlling for covariates, transfusion of warm fresh whole blood in addition to component therapy was not associated with increased mortality risk compared with the transfusion of component therapy only (OR 1.247 [95% CI 0.760-2.048], P = 0.382). Conclusion: Patients with combat related thoracic trauma transfused with warm fresh whole blood were not at increased risk for mortality compared to those who received component therapy alone when controlling for covariates.