An analysis of the pediatric casualties undergoing massive transfusion in Iraq and Afghanistan

Steven G. Schauer, Abigail R. Wheeler, Michael D. April, Hannah L. Gale, Tyson E. Becker, Guyon J. Hill, Matthew A. Borgman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Existing data on pediatric massive transfusion as part of trauma resuscitation is limited. We report the characteristics of pediatric casualties associated with undergoing massive transfusion at US military treatment facilities during combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Methods: We queried the Department of Defense Trauma Registry (DODTR) for all pediatric subjects admitted to US and Coalition fixed-facility hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan from January 2007 to January 2016. We stratified subjects by Centers for Disease Control age groupings: <1, 1–4, 5–9, 10–14, and 15–17 years. We defined a massive transfusion as 40 mL/kg of total blood products or more. Results: From January 2007 through January 2016 there were 3439 pediatric casualties within the registry, of which 543 (15.7%) met criteria for receiving a massive transfusion. The median age of children undergoing massive transfusion was 9 years (IQR 5–12), male (73.4%), injured in Afghanistan (69.9%) and injured by explosives (60.4%). Compared to other pediatric casualties, subjects undergoing massive transfusion had higher composite injury severity scores (median 17 versus 9), higher incidence of tachycardia (86.8% versus 70.9%), increased incidence of hypotension (31.2% versus 7.5%), and decreased survival to hospital discharge (82.6% versus 91.6%). Specific to body regions, casualties undergoing massive transfusion more frequently had serious injuries to the head/neck (30.0% versus 22.8%), the thorax (22.8% versus 9.9%), abdomen (26.8% versus 6.9%), the extremities (42.1% versus 14.6%), while less frequently had serious injuries to the skin (5.3% versus 8.4%). All findings were significant. Conclusions: Further research is needed to better translate the lessons learned from pediatric trauma care in the combat setting into the civilian setting in developed countries. Level of evidence: 3

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)895-899
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Blood
  • Massive
  • Military
  • Pediatric
  • Transfusion
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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