Author(s): Erber WN
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Abstract Massive haemorrhage in elective surgery can be either anticipated (e.g. organ transplantation) or unexpected. Management requires early recognition, securing haemostasis and maintenance of normovolaemia. Transfusion management involves the transfusion of packed red cells, platelet concentrates and plasma (fresh frozen plasma and cryoprecipitate). Blood product support should be based on clinical judgment and be guided by repeated laboratory tests of coagulation. Although coagulation tests may not provide a true representation of in vivo haemostasis, they do assist in management of haemostatic factors. Below critical levels (prothrombin time or activated partial thromboplastin time >1.8; fibrinogen <1.0 g/l; platelet count < 80 x 10(9) 1(-1)) it is difficult to achieve haemostasis. Despite seemingly adequate blood component therapy there remain situations where haemorrhage is uncontrollable. In this setting, alternative approaches must be considered. These include the use of other blood products (e.g. prothrombin complex concentrates; fresh whole blood; fibrin glue) and pharmacological agents (e.g. aprotinin). Complications of massive transfusion result in significant morbidity and mortality. These may be secondary to the storage lesion of the transfused blood products, disseminated intravascular coagulation, hypothermia or hypovolaemic shock. The use of fresh blood products and leucocyte-reduced packed red cells and platelets, may minimise some of the adverse clinical sequelae.
This article was published in Transfus Apher Sci
and referenced in Journal of Blood Disorders & Transfusion