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Whole Blood Thrombin Generation in Severely Injured Patients Requiring Massive Transfusion

BackgroundDespite the prevalence of hypocoagulability after injury, the majority of trauma patients paradoxically present with elevated thrombin generation (TG). Although several studies have examined plasma TG post injury, this has not been assessed in whole blood. We hypothesize that whole blood TG is lower in hypocoagulopathy, and TG effectively predicts massive transfusion (MT).Study DesignBlood was collected from trauma activation patients at an urban Level I trauma center. Whole blood TG was performed with a prototype point-of-care device. Whole blood TG values in healthy volunteers were compared with trauma patients, and TG values were examined in trauma patients with shock and MT requirement.ResultsOverall, 118 patients were included. Compared with healthy volunteers, trauma patients overall presented with more robust TG; however, those arriving in shock (n = 23) had a depressed TG, with significantly lower peak thrombin (88.3 vs 133.0 nM; p = 0.01) and slower maximum rate of TG (27.4 vs 48.3 nM/min; p = 0.04). Patients who required MT (n = 26) had significantly decreased TG, with a longer lag time (median 4.8 vs 3.9 minutes, p = 0.04), decreased peak thrombin (median 71.4 vs 124.2 nM; p = 0.0003), and lower maximum rate of TG (median 15.8 vs 39.4 nM/min; p = 0.01). Area under the receiver operating characteristics (AUROC) analysis revealed lag time (AUROC 0.6), peak thrombin (AUROC 0.7), and maximum rate of TG (AUROC 0.7) predict early MT.ConclusionsThese data challenge the prevailing bias that all trauma patients present with elevated TG and highlight that deficient thrombin contributes to the hypocoagulopathic phenotype of trauma-induced coagulopathy. In addition, whole blood TG predicts MT, suggesting point-of-care whole blood TG can be a useful tool for diagnostic and therapeutic strategies in trauma.Visual AbstractDownload : Download high-res image (387KB)Download : Download full-size image

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