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Background: Postpartum haemorrhage causes significant mortality among parturients. Early transfusion of blood products based on clinical judgement and conventional coagulation testing has been adapted to the treatment of postpartum haemorrhage, but rotational thromboelastometry (ROTEM) may provide clinicians means for a goal-directed therapy to control coagulation. We conducted a parallel design, randomised, controlled trial comparing these two approaches. We hypothesised that a ROTEM-guided protocol would decrease the need for red blood cell transfusion.

Methods: We randomised 60 parturients with postpartum haemorrhage of more than 1500 ml to receive either ROTEM-guided or conventional treatment, with 54 patients included in the final analysis. The primary outcome was consumption of blood products, and secondarily we assessed for possible side-effects of managing blood loss such as thromboembolic complications, infections, and transfusion reactions.

Results: The median (25th-75th percentile) number of RBC units transfused was 2 (1-4) in the ROTEM group and 3 (2-4) in the control group (P=0.399). The median number of OctaplasLG(R) units given was 0 in both groups (0-0 and 0-2) (P=0.030). The median total estimated blood loss was 2500 ml (2100-3000) in the ROTEM group and 3000 ml (2200-3100) in the control group (P=0.033). No differences were observed in secondary outcomes.

Conclusions: ROTEM-guided treatment of postpartum haemorrhage could have a plasma-sparing effect but possibly only a small reduction in total blood loss.

Clinical trial registration: NCT02461251.

(C) 2023 British Journal of Anaesthesia. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.