Editorial: Curr Opin Crit Care
McIntyre LA, Hebert PC.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Transfusion of red blood cells in the trauma patient can be lifesaving. The question is how much and when? It is important to weigh the risks and benefits of red blood cell transfusions, as well alternatives to transfusion as these products are not benign. RECENT FINDINGS: We explore the evidence, and provide the rationale for current and future red blood cell transfusion strategies within a framework of prehospital and hospital care of the trauma patient. We also describe how red blood cell transfusion trends are changing in trauma, discuss alternatives to red blood cell transfusion and present evidence from randomized controlled trials that support a lower transfusion trigger. SUMMARY: Optimal transfusion practice and use of alternatives in trauma is a rapidly expanding and important area of research. Strong clinical evidence derived by future randomized controlled trials in the area of transfusion triggers as well as transfusion alternatives is required to determine their roles in clinical practice.