UW News

August 7, 2012

Study to identify best blood transfusion practices for trauma patients

UW Health Sciences and UW Medicine

Airlift Northwest flight nurses deliver a patient to a trauma care team at Harborview Medical Center.Clare McCLean

UW medical researchers are launching a study to help determine which of the two most common blood product combinations provide the best outcomes for trauma patients who require massive blood transfusions. Dr. Eileen Bulger, UW professor of surgery and chief of trauma at Harborview Medical Center, is the principal investigator for the clinical study.

The study will be conducted at 12 Level I trauma centers across the United States, including UW Medicine’s Harborview Medical Center. Bulger and her team will look at the results to determine which of the two blood product combinations prove better at preventing certain complications from  traumatic injuries.This information will likely help determine how patients who are severely bleeding are transfused.

Trauma physicians will use such data as blood pressure, pulse, injury type, and ultrasound test results to predict whether emergency patients will require a significant amount of blood products.

The Harborview Blood Center will provide randomized combinations for eligible patients: one that provides more plasma and platelets, and one that gives less. All other treatments will be the same. Patients who  chose not to participate in this study will receive the amount and type of blood product determined by their trauma physician.


Dr. Eileen Bulger

Surgeon Eileen Bulger heads the study of blood transfusions for trauma patients.Clare McLean

All blood products used for the study will be the standard FDA licensed blood products patients would normally receive for transfusions.  Because this study is being conducted on patients who have suffered severe trauma and are unlikely to be conscious, informed consent will most likely be impossible to obtain. Because of this, the UW Institutional Review Board (IRB) that oversees all clinical studies has granted the study a waiver of consent.  Study leaders will be conducting community consultation meetings to provide the general public with more information about the study.

 Anyone who does not wish to be involved in this study can contact the study nurse at 206-744-7724 and ask for a red silicone wristband with “PROPPR” indicated. The band will ensure that the wearer will not be screened or enrolled into this study  if he or she arrives unconscious at a trauma center.

If you would like to schedule a community consultation meeting or would like more information, please contact the study nurse at 206-744-7724 or email PROPPR@uw.edu