BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the ability of uncrossmatched transfusions in the emergency department (ED) to predict early (<6 hr) massive transfusion (MT) of red blood cells (RBCs) and blood components.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: All patients admitted to a Level 1 trauma center between July 2005 and June 2007 who received any transfusions and were transported directly from the scene of injury were included. Early MT was defined as the need for 10 U or more or RBCs in the first 6 hours. Early MT plasma was defined as 6 U or more of plasma in the first 6 hours. Early MT platelets (PLTs) were defined as two or more apheresis transfusions in the first 6 hours. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed.

RESULTS: A total of 485 patients (34%) received ED transfusions (ED RBC+) and 956 (66%) did not receive ED transfusions (ED RBC–). ED RBC+ patients were younger, were more likely to be male, and arrived with more severe injuries. Multivariate regression identified ED transfusion of uncrossmatched RBC as an independent predictor of requiring early MT of RBCs (odds ratio [OR], 3.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.36-7.59; p = 0.001), plasma (OR, 2.7; 95% CI, 1.66-4.39; p < 0.001), and PLTs (OR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.08-3.41; p = 0.025).

CONCLUSION: Patients receiving uncrossmatched RBCs in the ED are more than three times more likely to receive early MT of RBCs. Additionally, patients transfused with ED RBCs are more likely to receive 6 units or more of plasma and two or more apheresis PLT transfusions. Given these findings, ED transfusion of uncrossmatched RBCs should be considered a potential trigger for activation of an institution's MT protocol.