Eliminating battlefield transfusions

New Orleans -- The need for blood transfusions on the battlefield presents a multitude of logistical problems. For cities removed from the fighting, the treatment of mass casualties where blood might not be immediately available presents similar logistical concerns. In both instances the difference between life and death may rest upon the physicians ability to transfer a patient to a geographic region where blood transfusion delivery is less problematic.

In the future, however, a unique blood plasma volume expander may reduce or eliminate the need for blood transfusions in situations such as these. Plasma expanders, including those being presented at an upcoming meeting, are now being studied by a number of military researchers seeking the ideal surgical fluid to treat combat casualties, and are also in use by the US military overseas.

Four studies involving blood plasma volume expanders performed in animals is the subject of a presentation by Paul E. Segall, Ph.D., Hal Sternberg, Ph.D., Stephen Kehrer and Mark A. Voelker, Ph.D. all of BioTime Inc., Berkeley, CA. They will discuss the results of their work, entitled, An Animal Model for Eliminating Battlefield Transfusions, during the American Physiological Societys (APS) annual meeting, part of the "Experimental Biology 2002 conference. More than l2,000 attendees will attend the conference , which is being held April 20-24, 2002 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA.

Over a series of four studies the investigators used a unique six percent hetastarch-based blood plasma volume expander in lactated electrolyte injection containing a physiological amount of glucose. The first two experiments modeled hemorrhagic shock followed by extended periods of apnea. Rats were resuscitated with plasma volume expander and then either maintained and ventilated with 100 percent oxygen at elevated pressures, or ventilated with 100 percent oxygen at ambient pressure.

Contact: Donna Krupa
American Physiological Society

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