Research Article|Articles in Press

Balanced blood component resuscitation in trauma: Does it matter equally at different transfusion volumes?

Published:December 16, 2022DOI:



      It remains unclear whether the association between balanced blood component transfusion and lower mortality is generalizable to trauma patients receiving varying transfusion volumes. We sought to study the role red blood cell transfusion volume plays in the relationships between red blood cell:platelet and red blood cell:fresh frozen plasma ratios and 4-hour mortality.


      Adult patients in the 2013 to 2018 American College of Surgeons Trauma Quality Improvement Program database receiving ≥6 red blood cell, ≥1 platelet, and ≥1 fresh frozen plasma within 4 hours were included. The following 4 cohorts were defined based on 4-hour red blood cell transfusion volume: (1) 6 to 10 units, (2) 11 to 15 units, (3) 16 to 20 units, and (4) >20 units. The association between red blood cell:fresh frozen plasma, red blood cell:platelet, and 4-hour mortality was evaluated discretely for each red blood cell transfusion volume category, statistically adjusting for confounders.


      A total of 14,549 patients were included. In patients receiving 6 to 10 units of red blood cells, red blood cell:platelet ratios were not associated with 4-hour mortality, and only red blood cell:fresh frozen plasma ≥4:1 were associated with significantly higher odds of 4-hour mortality compared to 1:1. For patients receiving >10 red blood cell units, increasing red blood cell:platelet and red blood cell:fresh frozen plasma ratios were consistently associated with increased odds of 4-hour mortality. For example, in red blood cell volumes of 11 to 15, 16 to 20, and >20 units, risk-adjusted 4-hour mortality odds ratios for red blood cell:platelet ≥4:1 were 2.27 (1.47–3.51), 3.32 (2.26–4.90), and 3.01 (2.33–3.88), respectively.


      The association between balanced blood component transfusion and 4-hour mortality is not homogenous in trauma patients requiring different transfusion volumes and is specifically less evident in patients receiving lower volumes. Such findings should be considered in the current and future blood shortage crises across the nation.

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