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INTRODUCTION: Transfusion therapy in hemorrhaging trauma patients is associated with the development of thromboembolic events. It is unknown whether current resuscitation strategies, including large volumes of plasma and early administration of procoagulant therapy, increases this risk.

METHODS: A systematic search was conducted in MEDLINE, PubMed, and Embase. Studies were screened by two independent reviewers and included if they reported on thromboembolic events in patients with severe trauma (injury severity score >=16) who received transfusion of at least 1 unit of red blood cells. The ratio by which blood products were transfused, as well as use of procoagulant or antifibrinolytic medication, was recorded.

RESULTS: A total of 40 studies with 11.074 bleeding trauma patients were included, in which 1.145 thromboembolic events were reported, yielding an incidence of 10% thromboembolic events. In studies performing routine screening for thromboembolic complications, the incidence ranged from 12% to 23%. The risk of thromboembolic events was increased after administration of tranexamic acid (TXA; odds ratio [OR], 2.6; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.7-4.1; p < 0.001) and fibrinogen concentrate (OR, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.0-4.2; p = 0.04). Blood product ratio, the use of prothrombin complex concentrate or recombinant factor VIIa were not associated with thromboembolic events.

CONCLUSION: This systematic review identified an incidence of thromboembolic events of 10% in severely injured bleeding trauma patients. The use of TXA and fibrinogen concentrate was associated with the development of thromboembolic complications.

(C) 2020 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd