Background Recombinant activated human coagulation factor VII (rFVIIa), an intravascular strategy to promote clotting, is being used as an adjunct to surgical control of bleeding in combat trauma patients.
Objective To describe the initial experiences with rFVIIa administered to combat casualties at US Navy-Marine Corps medical treatment facilities in Iraq, and to compare survival outcomes of those treated with rFVIIa to controls not receiving rFVIIa.
Methods Medical encounter data from the US Navy-Marine Corps Combat Trauma Registry were retrospectively reviewed to identify all battle-injured patients documented as having received rFVIIa during the period May 2004 to January 2006 of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Available clinical and injury related data are presented to characterise the patients. To assess effects of rFVIIa on survival outcomes, rFVIIa cases were matched to controls on injury severity and age.
Results 22 battle-injured patients from the Combat Trauma Registry received rFVIIa. Primarily young US Marines, these patients typically had penetrating injuries from improvised explosive devices and gunshot wounds. Injuries were often abdominal. The average dose used was similar to that reported in another study of civilian trauma patients, although dosing varies widely in the existing experimental and anecdotal literature. Over two-thirds (68%) of the rFVIIa patients survived—an identical outcome seen for a matched control group of 22 patients.
Conclusions Survival of seriously injured combat casualties was good, although identical to that of a control group. Methodological limitations of this retrospective study preclude making firm conclusions about the effectiveness of rFVIIa. Future controlled studies are needed for safety and efficacy testing of rFVIIa in combat trauma patients.
- Factor VIIa
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Competing interests None.
Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Naval Health Research Center.