Transfusion-related cost comparison of trauma patients receiving whole blood versus component therapy

Angelo Ciaraglia, John C. Myers, Maxwell Braverman, John Barry, Brian Eastridge, Ronald Stewart, Susannah Nicholson, Donald Jenkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


INTRODUCTION With the emergence of whole blood (WB) in trauma resuscitation, cost-related comparisons are of significant importance to providers, blood banks, and hospital systems throughout the country. The objective of this study was to determine if there is a transfusion-related cost difference between trauma patients who received low titer O+ whole blood (LTO+WB) and component therapy (CT). METHODS A retrospective review of adult and pediatric trauma patients who received either LTO+WB or CT from time of injury to within 4 hours of arrival was performed. Annual mean cost per unit of blood product was obtained from the regional blood bank supplier. Pediatric and adult patients were analyzed separately and were compared on a cost per patient (cost/patient) and cost per patient per milliliter (cost/patient/mL) basis. Subgroup analysis was performed on severely injured adult patients (Injury Severity Score, >15) and patients who underwent massive transfusion. RESULTS Prehospital LTO+WB transfusion began at this institution in January 2018. After the initiation of the WB transfusion, the mean annual cost decreased 17.3% for all blood products, and the average net difference in cost related to component blood products and LTO+WB was more than $927,000. In adults, LTO+WB was associated with a significantly lower cost/patient and cost/patient/mL compared with CT at 4 hours (p < 0.001), at 24 hours (p < 0.001), and overall (p < 0.001). In the severely injured subgroup (Injury Severity Score, >15), WB was associated with a lower cost/patient and cost/patient/mL at 4 hours (p < 0.001), 24 hours (p < 0.001), and overall (p < 0.001), with no difference in the prehospital setting. Similar findings were true in patients meeting massive transfusion criteria, although differences in injury severity may account for this finding. CONCLUSION With increased use of LTO+WB for resuscitation, cost comparison is of significant importance to all stakeholders. Low titer O+ WB was associated with reduced cost in severely injured patients. Ongoing analyses may improve resource utilization and benefit overall healthcare cost. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE Therapeutic/Care Management; Level IV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-68
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2023


  • cost
  • transfusion
  • trauma systems
  • Whole blood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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