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INTRODUCTION: Low titer group O whole blood (LTOWB) resuscitation is increasingly common in both military and civilian settings. Data regarding the safety and efficacy of prehospital LTOWB remain limited.

METHODS: We performed a single-center, prospective, cluster randomized, prehospital through in-hospital whole blood pilot trial for injured air medical patients. We compared standard prehospital air medical care including red cell transfusion and crystalloids followed by in-hospital component transfusion to prehospital and in-hospital LTOWB resuscitation. Prehospital vital signs were used as inclusion criteria (systolic blood pressure <=90 mm Hg and heart rate >=108 beats per minute or systolic blood pressure <=70 mm Hg for patients at risk of hemorrhage). Primary outcome was feasibility. Secondary outcomes included 28-day and 24-hour mortality, multiple organ failure, nosocomial infection, 24-hour transfusion requirements, and arrival coagulation parameters.

RESULTS: Between November 2018 and October 2020, 86 injured patients were cluster randomized by helicopter base. The trial has halted early at 77% enrollment. Overall, 28-day mortality for the cohort was 26%. Injured patients randomized to prehospital LTOWB (n = 40) relative to standard care (n = 46) were similar in demographics and injury characteristics. Intent-to-treat Kaplan-Meier survival analysis demonstrated no statistical mortality benefit at 28 days (25.0% vs. 26.1%, p = 0.85). Patients randomized to prehospital LTOWB relative to standard care had lower red cell transfusion requirements at 24 hours (p < 0.01) and a lower incidence of abnormal thromboelastographic measurements. No transfusion reactions during the prehospital or in-hospital phase of care were documented.

CONCLUSION: Prehospital through in-hospital LTOWB resuscitation is safe and may be associated with hemostatic benefits. A large-scale clinical trial is feasible with protocol adjustment and would allow the effects of prehospital LTOWB on survival and other pertinent clinical outcomes to be appropriately characterized.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic/Care Management, Level II.

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