Original Research

Fresh Frozen Plasma Increases Hemorrhage in Blunt Traumatic Brain Injury and Uncontrolled Hemorrhagic Shock

Hilla Abergel, Miri Bidder, Itamar Ashkenazi, Leonid Reytman, Ricardo Alfici, and Michael M. Krausz


Background: Blunt traumatic brain injury (bTBI) and uncontrolled hemorrhagic shock (UCHS) are common causes of mortality in polytrauma. We studied the influence of fresh frozen plasma (FFP) resuscitation in a rat model with both bTBI and UCHS before achieving hemorrhage control.

Methods: The bTBI was induced by an external weight drop (200 g) onto the bare skull of anesthetized male Lewis (Lew/SdNHsd) rats; UCHS was induced by resection of two-thirds of the rats’ tails. Fifteen minutes following trauma, bTBI+UCHS rats underwent resuscitation with FFP or lactated Ringer’s solution (LR). Eight groups were evaluated: (1) Sham; (2) bTBI; (3) UCHS; (4) UCHS+FFP; (5) UCHS+LR; (6) bTBI+UCHS; (7) bTBI+UCHS+FFP; and (8) bTBI+UCHS+LR. Bleeding volume, hematocrit, lactate, mean arterial pressure (MAP), heart rate, and mortality were measured.

Results: The study included 97 rats that survived the immediate trauma. Mean blood loss up to the start of resuscitation was similar among UCHS only and bTBI+UCHS rats (P=0.361). Following resuscitation, bleeding was more extensive in bTBI+UCHS+FFP rats (5.2 mL, 95% confidence interval [CI] 3.7, 6.6) than in bTBI+UCHS+LR rats (2.5 mL, 95% CI 1.2, 3.8) and bTBI+UCHS rats (1.9 mL, 95% CI -0.2, 3.9) (P=0.005). Similarly, non-significant increases in blood loss were observed in UCHS+FFP rats (P=0.254). Overall mortality increased if bleeding was above 4.5 mL (92.3% versus 8%; P<0.001). Mortality was 83.3% (10/12) in bTBI+UCHS+FFP rats, 41.7% (5/12) in bTBI+UCHS+LR rats, and 64.3% (9/14) in bTBI+UCHS rats.

Conclusion: The bTBI did not exacerbate bleeding in rats undergoing UCHS. Compared to LR, FFP resuscitation was associated with a significantly increased blood loss in bTBI+UCHS rats.

Rambam Maimonides Med J 2023;14(1):e0002