Background Haemorrhagic shock from traumatic injuries is now often treated using a damage control resuscitation strategy that transfuses packed red blood cells, plasma and platelets in a 1:1:1 ratio, early use of activated recombinant factor VII and transfusion of fresh whole blood. These therapies are aimed at promoting thrombosis in injured vessels. Such patients are at high risk for thrombotic complications and thromboprophylaxis is necessary, but frequently impossible to use in the early phase of care.
Case presentation We describe the case of an Afghan civilian worker who suffered a vertical shear pelvic fracture with massive bleeding in a pedestrian/truck collision that was treated with a damage control resuscitation strategy, and who later suffered a severe pulmonary embolus. The potential use of a temporary inferior vena cava [IVC] filters is discussed.
Recommendations Care providers and policy makers must recognize that the increased use of prothrombotic strategies of resuscitation will likely increase the incidence of thrombotic complications in the high risk population of severely injured patients in combat support hospitals. Monitoring the incidence of these complications and development of strategies for prevention and treatment are required to avoid undermining the positive outcomes of damage control resuscitation. These strategies could include supplying combat support hospitals with the equipment and training necessary for placement of temporary IVC filters under fluoroscopic guidance.