A new study has been launched to see whether giving blood rather than clear fluid to air ambulance patients before they reach hospital saves more lives.
Currently major trauma patients either receive one or the other to replace lost blood while airborne, with the choice varying by region as, according to participant Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, universal blood provision poses logistical and cost implications. Gavin Perkins, professor of critical care medicine at the University of Warwick, is a chief investigator for the Birmingham-based trial. He says “blood is a scarce resource and we currently don’t know when and where the best place to administer is”. Nicholas Crombie, fellow chief investigator and doctor with Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, says ambulances will be randomly stocked with blood products, allowing the research team to investigate mortality rates and biochemical effects “between those who receive blood products and those who receive clear fluid”. The team will also be working with colleagues from East Anglia Air Ambulance and Essex and Herts Air Ambulance.