Replacement of Massive Blood Loss


Department of Anesthesiology Helsinki University Central Hospital Kir. kl. /Anest. kanslia/III l-sali PL 260 00029 HYKS, Finland Phone: +358 9 4712452, Fax: +358 9 4714017,


Treatment of massive blood loss has experienced major changes during the recent decade. The transition towards pure component therapy has been the most significant issue, which has compelled the clinician to revise some of their basic strategics in treatment of massively bleeding patients. The importance of adequate volume resuscitation with crystalloids and colloids is still unrefutable, but the therapy of hemorrhagic derangements has changed. Plasma-poor red cells (RC) are now commonly used instead of whole blood (WB) or packed red blood cells (PRBC) to correct oxygen carrying capacity during massive blood loss. As the plasma content of RC is minimal, deficit of plasma and coagulation factors develops earlier than during transfusion of WB and PRBC. Hypofibri- nogenemia develops first followed by other coagulation factor deficits and later by thrombocytopenia. Therefore the use of fresh frozen plasma (FFP) is the primary intervention to treat abnormal bleeding encountered in the replacement of massive blood loss with RC. As the development of thrombocytopenia is a highly individual phenomenon, the transfusion of platelets should be guided by repeatedly determined platelet counts.