Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Critical bleeding (CB) requiring massive transfusion (MT) can occur in a variety of clinical contexts and is associated with substantial mortality and morbidity. In 2011, the Australian National Blood Authority (NBA) published patient blood management guidelines for CB and MT, which found limited high-quality evidence from which only 2 recommendations could be made. The aim of this systematic review (SR) was to update these guidelines and identify evidence gaps still to be addressed. A comprehensive search was performed for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and SRs using MeSH index and free text terms in MEDLINE, the Cochrane Library (Issue 11, 2012), EMBASE, CINHAL, PUBMED, and the Transfusion Evidence Library up to July 15, 2014. The evidence was grouped according to 4 questions based on the original guideline relating to transfusion interventions: (1) effect of dose, timing, and ratio of red blood cells (RBCs) to component therapy on patient outcomes; (2) effect of RBC transfusion on patient outcomes; (3) effect of fresh frozen plasma, platelet, cryoprecipitate, fibrinogen concentrate, and prothrombin complex concentrate on patient outcomes; and (4) effect of recombinant activated factor VII (rFVIIa) on patient outcomes. From this search, 19 studies were identified: 6 RCTs and 13 SRs. Two of the RCTs were pilot/feasibility studies, 3 were investigating rFVIIa, and 1 compared restrictive versus liberal RBC transfusion in upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage. Overall, limited new evidence was identified and substantial evidence gaps remain, particularly with regard to the effect of component therapies, including ratio of RBC to component therapies, on patient outcomes. Clinical trials to address these questions are required.

Original publication




Journal article


Transfus Med Rev

Publication Date





127 - 137


Blood transfusion, Fibrinogen, Gastrointestinal hemorrhage, Hemorrhage, Injuries, Perioperative, Prothrombin complex concentrate, Recombinant FVIIa, Blood Component Transfusion, Blood Transfusion, Combined Modality Therapy, Critical Care, Data Accuracy, Evidence-Based Medicine, Factor VIIa, Feasibility Studies, Guideline Adherence, Hemorrhage, Humans, Meta-Analysis as Topic, Pilot Projects, Practice Guidelines as Topic, Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic, Recombinant Proteins, Review Literature as Topic, Transfusion Reaction, Treatment Outcome