In February of this year, the Joint Trauma System, the Armed Services Blood Program, and the Defense Committee on Trauma all joined forces to publish a consensus statement and officially recommend that Whole Blood should be utilized DOD-wide for combat trauma resuscitations. While this statement is the opinion of the authors and does not necessarily represent the Department of Defense or the Defense Health Agency, the military and military medicine most often eventually follow the recommendations of these organizations.
Whole Blood comes in two flavors, either from the Walking Blood Bank (servicemembers donate blood live at the site of injury or the location of resuscitation) or from “cold stored” Low Titer Group O Whole Blood (blood collected prior to the need from screened donors and refrigerated for later use). Whole Blood offers many benefits when compared to the standard component therapy transfusions ubiquitous in civilian trauma centers and has few drawbacks. While Whole Blood transfusion has been standard in some military units for years, this consensus statement will hopefully guide the rest of the DOD to establish their own Whole Blood programs. The full article can be found open access below with the authors’ recommendations and pertinent guidelines.