Prehospital blood transfusion versus crystalloid alone in the air medical transport of trauma patients

Michael P. Sumida, Karen Quinn, Patricia L. Lewis, Yonna Jones, Donald E. Barker, David L. Ciraulo, Vernon Cowell, Stephen Luk, Diane Murphy, Lenworth Jacobs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Introduction: Differences in prehospital resuscitation measures and outcomes of trauma patients transported by two air medical programs were assessed comparing the prehospital administration of crystalloid only (Group A) with the administration of 2 liters of crystalloid followed by blood (Group B). Methods: A 1-year retrospective review of flight and hospital records of patients taken to Level I trauma centers by two separate air medical programs was completed. Physiologic variables, total fluids infused, and flight times were compared. Results: Thirty-one patients (Group A) received crystalloids in flight, and 17 patients received in-flight blood (Group B). No statistical differences were found between the two groups when comparing age, ISS, PS, RTS, GCS, survival, and total fluid volume. Group B had statistically greater mean flight times compared with Group A (P < .05). A difference was demonstrated between groups A and B in pH and HCO3 measurements (P < .05), with Group B presenting in a more acidotic state on admission to the hospital. Conclusion: Patients with lengthy flight times, despite the administration of blood products, presented to the trauma center more acidotic than trauma patients receiving only crystalloid. The true impact of blood products on outcome could not be demonstrated because of statistical differences in flight times between the groups. A multicenter study matching flight times, head injury status, and flight type to assess benefit of prehospital utilization of blood products is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)140-143
Number of pages4
JournalAir Medical Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000


  • Air medical transport
  • Blood transfusion
  • EMS
  • Prehospital care
  • Prehospital times
  • Resuscitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency


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