The feasibility of civilian prehospital trauma teams carrying and administering packed red blood cells
Emerg Med J 2014;31:93-95
To evaluate the feasibility, limitations and costs involved in providing prehospital trauma teams with packed red blood cells (pRBCs) for use in the prehospital setting.
Methods A retrospective cohort study, examining 18 months of historical data collated by the Queensland Ambulance Service Trauma Response Team (TRT) and the Pathology Queensland Central Transfusion Laboratory was undertaken.
Results Over an 18-month period (1 January 2011–30 June 2012), of 500 pRBC units provided to the TRT, 130 (26%) were administered to patients in the prehospital environment. Of the non-transfused units, 97.8% were returned to a hospital blood bank and were available for reissue. No instances of equipment failure directly contributed to wastage of pRBCs. The cost of providing pRBCs for prehospital use was $A551 (£361) for each unit transfused.
Conclusions The authors found it is feasible and practical to provide prehospital trauma teams with pRBCs for use in the field. Use of pRBCs in the prehospital setting is associated with similar rates of pRBC wastage to that reported in emergency departments.