Improvements in National Code Red transfusion practice in Scotland after adoption of recommendations from the Scottish National Code Red 2015 review

Matthew J. Reed (Lead / Corresponding author), Claire Cooke, Niall McMahon, Katherine Hands, Susan Henderson, Eleanor Knight, Nicola Littlewood, Munsoor Latif, Naomi Tod, Margaret McGarvey, Neil Hughes, Michael Donald, Megan Rowley, Catherine Innes, Symon Lockhart,

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    Aims: The Scottish Transfusion and Laboratory Support in Trauma Group (TLSTG) previously reviewed all National Code Red activations between June 1st 2013 and October 31st 2015, generating a number of recommendations to be adopted to optimise the transfusion support given to patients following major trauma in Scotland. A repeat National survey was undertaken for all patients for whom Code Red was activated between 1st November 2015 and 31st December 2017.

    Methods: A clinical and transfusion lead for each centre entered anonymised data onto a secure electronic database (REDCap).

    Results: During the study period there were 66 activations (24 South-East of Scotland, 32 West, 10 East). Mean age was 45 years and 88% were male. Mean Injury Severity Score (ISS) was 28 with 75% blunt trauma. 93% (62/66) of Code Red patients received blood components with a 300% increase in pre-hospital transfusion (48 vs 16 patients; p<0.001). Median time from 999 call to Code Red activation reduced significantly to 37 min from 70 min (p = 0.01) giving the hospital more time to prepare transfusion components. 78% patients received pre-hospital tranexamic acid (TXA; improved from 70%, p = 0.67, ns). Concentrated Red Cell (CRC): Fresh Frozen Plasma (FFP) ratio was always less than 2:1 and below 1.4:1 at 90 min, compared to 2013–15 when CRC: FFP ratios did not drop to below 2:1 until 150 min after arrival in the ED. Mean time for Full Blood Count (FBC; 46 mins versus 81; p = 0.004) and clotting (53 mins versus 119; p<0.001) result was reduced. Survival to hospital discharge was unchanged (66% versus 63%; p = 1.00 ns).

    Conclusions: Code Red practice has improved in several ways since our last survey with earlier Code Red activation, more patients receiving pre-hospital transfusion and improved CRC:FFP ratios. Interventions such as earlier on scene Code Red activation, provision of pre-hospital TXA, Emergency Department (ED) resuscitation room pre-thawed FFP and point-of-care viscoelastic coagulation testing have all contributed to these improvements in transfusion practice in Scotland.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)913-918
    Number of pages6
    Issue number4
    Early online date18 Feb 2020
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


    • Massive transfusion
    • Critical care
    • Trauma

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Emergency Medicine
    • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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