Massive hemorrhage protocol survey: Marked variability and absent in one-third of hospitals in Ontario, Canada Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: Massive hemorrhage protocols (MHP) are critical to standardized delivery of timely, safe, and resource-effective coordinated care for patients with life-threatening bleeding. METHODS: A standardized MHP survey was sent to all hospitals (n = 150) in Ontario with a transfusion service. This study aim was to determine the proportion of hospitals with an MHP and assess for variability. RESULTS: The overall survey completion rate was 133 of 150 hospitals (89%) (remaining 17 providing negative affirmation that they did not have an MHP). An MHP was in place at 97 of 150 (65%) hospitals (60% of small (<5000 red cell units/year) vs. 91% of medium/large). A total of 10 different names of protocols were reported, with "Massive Transfusion Protocol" (68%) predominating. Activation criteria were present in 82 of 97 (85%); commonly activated based on volume of blood loss (70%). Blood work was drawn at the discretion of the physician (37%) or at predefined intervals (31%; majority every 60 min). Common routine laboratory tests performed were CBC (87%) and INR (84%). Fibrinogen testing was available at 88 (66%) of 133 reporting hospitals and part of the standard testing at 73 of 97 (75%) hospitals with an MHP. Median targets of hemostatic resuscitations, stated in the protocol at 49% of hospitals with an MHP, were: platelets >50 × 109/L, INR < 1.8, fibrinogen >1.5 g/L, and hemoglobin >70 g/L. Protocol required patient temperature monitoring in 65% and specified a reversal plan for patients on anticoagulants in 59%. At 36% of sites all patients are initially managed with O RhD negative blood. Overall, 61% of sites issue blood in predefined packs (vs. on demand). Hemostatic agents in protocols included: tranexamic acid (70%), prothombin complex concentrate (14%), fibrinogen concentrate (13%), and recombinant FVIIa (4%). Quality metrics were tracked in 32% of hospitals. CONCLUSIONS: A third of hospitals lack formal MHPs, with the majority lacking in smaller hospitals. The survey results indicate that there is marked variability in all key aspects of the reported MHPs. This may be due to differences in hospital resources and personnel, lack of supporting evidence to dictate requirements, and differences in knowledge base of the individuals involved in protocol setting.


  • Chin, Victoria
  • Cope, Stephanie
  • Yeh, Calvin
  • Thompson, Troy
  • Nascimento, Barto
  • Pavenski, Katerina
  • Callum, Jeannie

publication date

  • January 2019

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