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01/12/2022

France: Transfusion en Opex

An observational study of the blood use in combat casualties of the French Armed Forces, 2013–2021

Py N. et Al. Transfusion. 2022;1–14.

Background:

The French Armed Forces conduct asymmetric warfare in the Sahara-Sahel Strip. Casualties are treated with damage control resuscitation to the extent possible. Questions remain about the feasibility and sustainability of using blood for wider use in austere environments.

Methods:

We performed a retrospective analysis of all French military trauma patients transfused after injury in overseas military operations in Sahel-Saharan Strip, from the point of injury, until day 7, between January 11, 2013 to December 31, 2021.

Results:

Forty-five patients were transfused. Twenty-three (51%) of them required four red blood cells units (RBC) or more in the first 24H defining a severe hemorrhage. The median blood product consumption within the first 48 h, was 8 (IQR [3; 18]) units of blood products (BP) for all study population but up to 17 units (IQR [10; 27.5]) for the trauma patients with severe hemor- rhage. Transfusion started at prehospital stage for 20 patients (45%) and included several blood products: French lyophilized plasma, RBCs, and whole blood. Patients with severe hemorrhage required a median of 2 [IQR 0; 34] fur- ther units of BP from day 3 to day 7 after injury. Eight patients died in theater, 4 with severe hemorrhage and these 4 used an average of 12 products at Role 1 and 2.

Conclusion:

The transfusion needs were predominant in the first 48 h after the injury but also continued throughout the first week for the most severe trauma patients. Importantly, our study involved a low-intensity conflict, with a small number of injured combatants.

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