Air Ambulances UK
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One person riding a motor bike in a blue biker suit

Great Western Air Ambulance Charity

Amount £10,000
GWAAC’s participation in SWIFT: The Study of Whole Blood in Frontline Trauma

Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC) is taking part in a national trial which could revolutionise care for patients suffering life-threatening bleeding as the result of a major trauma. The study will assess whether giving whole blood at the scene improves the patient’s chance of survival. Current practice is for pre-hospital blood transfusions to be delivered through different blood components.

GWAAC’s usual practice has been to give red blood cells (important for carrying oxygen around the body) and fresh frozen plasma (helps blood to clot). Platelets also play a crucial role in blood clotting, but are difficult to carry so are given after arrival at hospital. The two-year trial involving ten air ambulance charities will assess whether patients who are actively bleeding stand a better chance of survival if their lost ‘whole blood’ is replaced quickly and early through a whole blood transfusion. GWAAC has long worked at the forefront of pre-hospital medicine, and is delighted to be involved in this trial which could lead to changes to clinical practice nationally and internationally, impacting the outcomes for patients suffering major blood loss on a global scale.

Impact and Outcomes
The results of the study will identify the best blood transfusion strategy for pre- hospital use, assessing patient survival and quality of life, safety and cost- effectiveness
• Higher survival rates and improved outcomes for patients suffering life- threatening bleeding in a pre-hospital emergency
• Potentially, changes to clinical practice across in and outside of hospitals, on a national and international scale
• Giving whole blood, rather than the component parts as is current GWAAC practice, will be a faster process thus allowing crews to deliver other time- critical treatments and transport patients to hospital more quickly.