European Trauma Bleeding Guidelines updated


Update 2013: since this post was written in 2010, new guidelines have been written entitled: “Management of bleeding and coagulopathy following major trauma: an updated European guideline” which are available here

The 2007 guidelines on management of bleeding in trauma have been updated in the light of new evidence and modern practice. The guideline group summarises their recommendations as:

  1. We recommend that the time elapsed between injury and operation be minimised for patients in need of urgent surgical bleeding control. (Grade 1A).
  2. We recommend adjunct tourniquet use to stop life-threatening bleeding from open extremity injuries in the pre-surgical setting. (Grade 1C).
  3. We recommend that the physician clinically assess the extent of traumatic haemorrhage using a combination of mechanism of injury, patient physiology, anatomical injury pattern and the patient’s response to initial resuscitation. (Grade 1C).
  4. We recommend initial normoventilation of trauma patients if there are no signs of imminent cerebral herniation. (Grade 1C).
  5. We recommend that patients presenting with haemorrhagic shock and an identified source of bleeding undergo an immediate bleeding control procedure unless initial resuscitation measures are successful. (Grade 1B).
  6. We recommend that patients presenting with haemorrhagic shock and an unidentified source of bleeding undergo immediate further investigation. (Grade 1B).
  7. We recommend early imaging (FAST or CT) for the detection of free fluid in patients with suspected torso trauma. (Grade 1B).
  8. We recommend that patients with significant free intraabdominal fluid and haemodynamic instability undergo urgent intervention. (Grade 1A).
  9. We recommend further assessment using computed tomography for haemodynamically stable patients who are either suspected of having torso bleeding or have a high risk mechanism of injury. (Grade 1B).
  10. We do not recommend the use of single haematocrit measurements as an isolated laboratory marker for bleeding. (Grade 1B).
  11. We recommend both serum lactate and base deficit measurements as sensitive tests to estimate and monitor the extent of bleeding and shock. (Grade 1B).
  12. We recommend that routine practice to detect post-traumatic coagulopathy include the measurement of international normalised ratio (INR), activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT), fibrinogen and platelets. INR and APTT alone should not be used to guide haemostatic therapy. (Grade 1C) We suggest that thrombelastometry also be performed to assist in characterising the coagulopathy and in guiding haemostatic therapy. (Grade 2C).
  13. We recommend that patients with pelvic ring disruption in haemorrhagic shock undergo immediate pelvic ring closure and stabilisation. (Grade 1B).
  14. We recommend that patients with ongoing haemodynamic instability despite adequate pelvic ring stabilisation receive early preperitoneal packing, angiographic embolisation and/or surgical bleeding control. (Grade 1B).
  15. We recommend that early bleeding control of the abdomen be achieved using packing, direct surgical bleeding control and the use of local haemostatic procedures. In the exsanguinating patient, aortic cross-clamping may be employed as an adjunct. (Grade 1C).
  16. We recommend that damage control surgery be employed in the severely injured patient presenting with deep hemorrhagic shock, signs of ongoing bleeding and coagulopathy. Additional factors that should trigger a damage control approach are hypothermia, acidosis, inaccessible major anatomic injury, a need for time-consuming procedures or concomitant major injury outside the abdomen. (Grade 1C).
  17. We recommend the use of topical haemostatic agents in combination with other surgical measures or with packing for venous or moderate arterial bleeding associated with parenchymal injuries. (Grade 1B).
  18. We recommend a target systolic blood pressure of 80-100 mmHg until major bleeding has been stopped in the initial phase following trauma without brain injury. (Grade 1C).
  19. We recommend that crystalloids be applied initially to treat the bleeding trauma patient. (Grade 1B) We suggest that hypertonic solutions also be considered during initial treatment. (Grade 2B) We suggest that the addition of colloids be considered within the prescribed limits for each solution in haemodynamically unstable patients. (Grade 2C).
  20. We recommend early application of measures to reduce heat loss and warm the hypothermic patient in order to achieve and maintain normothermia. (Grade 1C).
  21. We recommend a target haemoglobin (Hb) of 7-9 g/dl. (Grade 1C).
  22. We recommend that monitoring and measures to support coagulation be initiated as early as possible. (Grade 1C).
  23. We recommend that ionised calcium levels be monitored during massive transfusion. (Grade 1C) We suggest that calcium chloride be administered during massive transfusion if ionised calcium levels are low or electrocardiographic changes suggest hypocalcaemia. (Grade 2C).
  24. We recommend early treatment with thawed fresh frozen plasma in patients with massive bleeding. (Grade 1B) The initial recommended dose is 10-15 ml/kg. Further doses will depend on coagulation monitoring and the amount of other blood products administered. (Grade 1C).
  25. We recommend that platelets be administered to maintain a platelet count above 50 × 109/l. (Grade 1C) We suggest maintenance of a platelet count above 100 × 109/l in patients with multiple trauma who are severely bleeding or have traumatic brain injury. (Grade 2C) We suggest an initial dose of 4-8 platelet concentrates or one aphaeresis pack. (Grade 2C).
  26. We recommend treatment with fibrinogen concentrate or cryoprecipitate if significant bleeding is accompanied by thrombelastometric signs of a functional fibrinogen deficit or a plasma fibrinogen level of less than 1.5-2.0 g/l. (Grade 1C) We suggest an initial fibrinogen concentrate dose of 3- 4 g or 50 mg/kg of cryoprecipitate, which is approximately equivalent to 15-20 units in a 70 kg adult. Repeat doses may be guided by thrombelastometric monitoring and laboratory assessment of fibrinogen levels. (Grade 2C).
  27. We suggest that antifibrinolytic agents be considered in the bleeding trauma patient. (Grade 2C) We recommend monitoring of fibrinolysis in all patients and administration of antifibrinolytic agents in patients with established hyperfibrinolysis. (Grade 1B) Suggested dosages are tranexamic acid 10-15 mg/kg followed by an infusion of 1-5 mg/kg per hour or ε-aminocaproic acid 100-150 mg/kg followed by 15 mg/kg/h. Antifibrinolytic therapy should be guided by thrombelastometric monitoring if possible and stopped once bleeding has been adequately controlled. (Grade 2C).
  28. We suggest that the use of recombinant recombinant activated coagulation factor VII (rFVIIa) be considered if major bleeding in blunt trauma persists despite standard attempts to control bleeding and best-practice use of blood components. (Grade 2C).
  29. We recommend the use of prothrombin complex concentrate for the emergency reversal of vitamin K-dependent oral anticoagulants. (Grade 1B).
  30. We do not suggest that desmopressin (DDAVP) be used routinely in the bleeding trauma patient. (Grade 2C) We suggest that desmopressin be considered in refractory microvascular bleeding if the patient has been treated with platelet-inhibiting drugs such as aspirin. (Grade 2C).
  31. We do not recommend the use of antithrombin concentrates in the treatment of the bleeding trauma patient. (Grade 1C).

Management of bleeding following major trauma: an updated European guideline.
Crit Care. 2010 Apr 6;14(2):R52 (Pub Med abstract)
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