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Should whole blood replace the shock pack?
  1. Rhys L Davies
  1. Correspondence to Maj Rhys L Davies, Department of Anaesthetics, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Cosham, Portsmouth PO6 3LF, UK; rhys.davies{at}


When haemorrhage occurs on the battlefield, the soldier rapidly loses whole blood; it therefore stands to reason that the optimum fluid for resuscitation is whole blood. Indeed, this was the case for the first 250 years of transfusion practice, but since the 1970s component therapy has been used, with little evidence for that change. It is hardly surprising that ‘balanced’ component therapy, which seeks to replicate whole blood, has been found to offer the best results in resuscitation. This article explores the role of whole blood in resuscitation and how it may be useful in the contemporary military environment.


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