Treatment of combined traumatic brain injury and hemorrhagic shock with fractionated blood products versus fresh whole blood in a rat model

  • Akiva Leibowitz
  • Evgeni BrotfainEmail author
  • Leonid Koyfman
  • Moti Klein
  • Shmuel Hess
  • Alexander Zlotnik
  • Matthew Boyko
Original Article



Treatment of combined traumatic brain injury and hemorrhagic shock, poses a particular challenge due to the possible conflicting consequences. While restoring diminished volume is the treatment goal for hypovolemia, maintaining adequate cerebral perfusion pressure and avoidance of secondary damage remains a treatment goal for the injured brain. Various treatment modalities have been proposed, but the optimal resuscitation fluid and goals have not yet been clearly defined. A growing body of evidence suggests that in hypovolemic shock, resuscitation with fresh whole blood (FWB) may be superior to component therapy without platelets (which are likely to be unavailable in the pre-hospital setting). Nevertheless, the effects of this approach have not been studied in the combined injury. Previously, in a rat model of combined injury we have found that mild resuscitation to MABP of 80 mmHg with FWB is superior to fluid resuscitation or aggressive resuscitation with FWB. In this study, we investigate the physiological and neurological outcomes in a rat model of combined traumatic brain injury (TBI) and hypovolemic shock, submitted to treatment with varying amounts of FWB, compared to similar resuscitation goals with fractionated blood products—red blood cells (RBCs) and plasma in a 1:1 ratio regimen.

Materials and methods

40 male Lewis rats were divided into control and treatment groups. TBI was inflicted by a free-falling rod on the exposed cranium. Hypovolemia was induced by controlled hemorrhage of 30% blood volume. Treatment groups were treated either with fresh whole blood or with RBC + plasma in a 1:1 ratio, achieving a resuscitation goal of a mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) of 80 mmHg at 15 min. MAP was assessed at 60 min, and neurological outcomes and mortality in the subsequent 24 h.


At 60 min, hemodynamic parameters were improved compared to controls, but not significantly different between treatment groups. Survival rates at 48 h were 100% for both of the mildly resuscitated groups (MABP 80 mmHg) with FWB and RBC + plasma. The best neurological outcomes were found in the group mildly resuscitated with FWB and were better when compared to resuscitation with RBC + plasma to the same MABP goal (FWB: Neurological Severity Score (NSS) 6 ± 2, RBC + plasma: NSS 10 ± 2, p = 0.02).


In this study, we find that mild resuscitation with goals of restoring MAP to 80 mmHg (which is lower than baseline) with FWB, provided better hemodynamic stability and survival. However, the best neurological outcomes were found in the group resuscitated with FWB. Thus, we suggest that resuscitation with FWB is a feasible modality in the combined TBI + hypovolemic shock scenario, and may result in improved outcomes compared to platelet-free component blood products.


Traumatic brain injury Hemorrhage Neurological outcomes Resuscitation 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Akiva Leibowitz
    • 1
    • 2
  • Evgeni Brotfain
    • 2
    Email author
  • Leonid Koyfman
    • 2
  • Moti Klein
    • 2
  • Shmuel Hess
    • 2
  • Alexander Zlotnik
    • 2
  • Matthew Boyko
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain MedicineBeth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, General Intensive Care Unit Soroka Medical Center, Ben-Gurion University of the NegevBeer ShevaIsrael

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