Patients could get blood already in the rescue helicopter

ZZS Moravskoslezského kraje

Moravian-Silesian paramedics are introducing a novelty that has the potential to significantly increase the chance of survival for patients with massive bleeding. Seriously injured after injuries will receive so-called whole blood on board the rescue helicopter if necessary. After a trial run, the new service will be launched on Friday.

In the Czech Republic, only the Hradec Králové Region Air Ambulance Service and the Central Military Hospital Emergency Department in Prague have so far administered whole blood. The Czech Republic is only the fourth country in the world where whole blood is used in actual practice.

The Moravian-Silesian Ambulance Service helps 21 thousand injured patients yearly, while whole blood will be given only to patients with massive bleeding. “It concerns patients with polytrauma. These are critically endangered patients, and most of them have a shock condition caused by blood loss,” said David Holeš, deputy director of the Moravian-Silesian ambulance service.

“From our experience so far, we can assume that a group of about 20 patients per year in our region will become suitable recipients of this treatment method directly at the intervention site and during transport by helicopter. We will be able to increase the chances of survival for these people in the first tens of minutes after the injury,” added Roman Gřegoř, the ambulance director.

Usually, blood collected from donors is processed into individual components, and patients are given only the missing part, i.e., red blood cells, platelets, or plasma. In the case of whole blood, however, the patient receives all components simultaneously.

With massive bleeding, the chances of survival are increased, and the likelihood of complications after transfusion is also reduced. Whole blood is made from the blood of Rh-negative blood group 0 donors. Its advantage is that it is universally applicable to patients of all blood groups.

Introducing this innovation required careful preparation in close cooperation with the Blood Centre of the University Hospital.

“Donor selection involves strict criteria, and not everyone is suitable. If blood is not used in the field, the product can be given to bleeding patients in the hospital, so there is no risk of wasting this precious fluid,” added Zuzana Čermáková, head of the Blood Centre.