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BACKGROUND: Early blood transfusion improves survival in patients with life-threatening bleeding, but the optimal transfusion strategy in the pre-hospital setting has yet to be established. Although there is some evidence of benefit with the use of whole blood, there have been no randomised controlled trials exploring the clinical and cost effectiveness of pre-hospital administration of whole blood versus component therapy for trauma patients with life-threatening bleeding. The aim of this trial is to determine whether pre-hospital leukocyte-depleted whole blood transfusion is better than standard care (blood component transfusion) in reducing the proportion of participants who experience death or massive transfusion at 24 h. METHODS: This is a multi-centre, superiority, open-label, randomised controlled trial with internal pilot and within-trial cost-effectiveness analysis. Patients of any age will be eligible if they have suffered major traumatic haemorrhage and are attended by a participating air ambulance service. The primary outcome is the proportion of participants with traumatic haemorrhage who have died (all-cause mortality) or received massive transfusion in the first 24 h from randomisation. A number of secondary clinical, process, and safety endpoints will be collected and analysed. Cost (provision of whole blood, hospital, health, and wider care resource use) and outcome data will be synthesised to present incremental cost-effectiveness ratios for the trial primary outcome and cost per quality-adjusted life year at 90 days after injury. We plan to recruit 848 participants (a two-sided test with 85% power, 5% type I error, 1-1 allocation, and one interim analysis would require 602 participants-after allowing for 25% of participants in traumatic cardiac arrest and an additional 5% drop out, the sample size is 848). DISCUSSION: The SWiFT trial will recruit 848 participants across at least ten air ambulances services in the UK. It will investigate the clinical and cost-effectiveness of whole blood transfusion versus component therapy in the management of patients with life-threatening bleeding in the pre-hospital setting. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN: 23657907; EudraCT: 2021-006876-18; IRAS Number: 300414; REC: 22/SC/0072, 21 Dec 2021.

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Emergency medicine, Major haemorrhage, Major trauma, Pre-hospital, Transfusion, Whole blood