Hemorrhage is the leading cause of preventable deaths among combat trauma casualties. In July, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization to the U.S. Department of Defense to enable the emergency use of freeze-dried plasma (FDP).
Plasma is a component of blood – the single largest component, comprising about 55 percent of blood – that carries blood components including red and white blood cells, platelets, salt, and enzymes throughout the body. Plasma contains immunoglobulins, clotting factors, and the proteins albumin and fibrinogen.
Freeze-dried plasma preserves the proteins responsible for helping blood to clot, and therefore is a vital solution for trauma-related injuries in the field for military personnel. Access to FDP helps control hemorrhage from battlefield trauma including penetrating wounds, amputation, and catastrophic injuries.
FDP is the powdered form of fresh frozen plasma (FFP). FFP is not a practical solution to battlefield trauma because it has to thaw before it can be used. Each unit of FDP corresponds to one unit of FFP. For military use, FDP is stored in a thick glass bottle, which is then packaged in a portable kit that also contains a bottle of sterile water, a sterile transfer set, and an infusion set.
In Combat & Casualty Care, Col. John “Ryan” Bailey, commander of U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity, says, “A key attribute of this system is that it can be utilized very quickly by the medic in the field, as rehydration to a full transfusable unit (approximately 250 mL) takes less than a minute.”
The sterile water is transferred into the glass bottle with the FDP, and the contents are swirled around to combine. The benefit to this system is that plasma can be delivered at point-of-injury, helping to clot blood even of catastrophic injuries. This gives medics more time to transfer a patient to a hospital for more comprehensive treatment.
Pocket Nurse has developed the only simulated freeze-dried plasma that has been approved for use in tactical combat casualty care (TCCC) and tactical emergency casualty care (TECC) trainings. For more information see the Military and Tactical page at PocketNurse.com.
www.tacticaldefensemedia.com, Combat & Casualty Care, Summer 2018, pp. 14-15