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Keywords:

  • acquired hemostatic defects;
  • blood products;
  • resuscitation;
  • stabilization;
  • surgical hemostasis

Abstract

Objective

To discuss the current resuscitative strategies for trauma-induced hemorrhagic shock and acute traumatic coagulopathy (ATC).

Etiology

Hemorrhagic shock can be acutely fatal if not immediately and appropriately treated. The primary tenets of hemorrhagic shock resuscitation are to arrest hemorrhage and restore the effective circulating volume. Large volumes of isotonic crystalloids have been the resuscitative strategy of choice; however, data from experimental animal models and retrospective human analyses now recognize that large-volume fluid resuscitation in uncontrolled hemorrhage may be deleterious. The optimal resuscitative strategy has yet to be defined. In human trauma, implementing damage control resuscitation with damage control surgery for controlling ongoing hemorrhage, acidosis, and hypothermia; managing ATC; and restoring effective circulating volume is emerging as a more optimal resuscitative strategy. With hyperfibrinolysis playing an integral role in the manifestation of ATC, the use of antifibrinolytics (eg, tranexamic acid and aminocaproic acid) may also serve a beneficial role in the early posttraumatic period. Considering the sparse information regarding these resuscitative techniques in veterinary medicine, veterinarians are left with extrapolating information from human trials and experimental animal models.

Diagnosis

Viscoelastic tests integrated with predictive scoring systems may prove to be the most reliable methods for early detection of ATC as well as for guiding transfusion requirements.

Summary

Hemorrhage accounts for up to 40% of human trauma-related deaths and remains the leading cause of preventable death in human trauma. The exact proportion of trauma-related deaths due to exsanguinations in veterinary patients remains uncertain. Survivability depends upon achieving rapid definitive hemostasis, early attenuation of posttraumatic coagulopathy, and timely restoration of effective circulating volume. Early institution of damage control resuscitation in severely injured patients with uncontrolled hemorrhage has the ability to curtail posttraumatic coagulopathy and the exacerbation of metabolic acidosis and hypothermia and improve survival until definitive hemostasis is achieved.