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Open Access Effects of Citrated Whole Blood Transfusion in Response to Hemorrhage

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Background and Purpose: Standard treatment for massive hemorrhage in dogs is infusion of whole blood or of packed red blood cells with fresh frozen plasma if whole blood is not available. Although most whole blood is collected using a citrate-based anticoagulant, knowledge of citrate's relevant non-anticoagulant effects is not widespread. Citrate's anticoagulant activity is achieved through chelation of divalent metal cations (e.g., magnesium, calcium), which may exacerbate cardiovascular and metabolic insults attributable to hemorrhage.

Methods: Blood pressures, gas tensions, metabolites, and electrolytes; myocardial metabolites, pressures, and contractility; cardiac output; and left cranial descending and circumflex coronary artery flows were measured in 21 anesthetized dogs after hemorrhage was induced by collection of blood into a citrated reservoir to mean arterial pressure of 45 mm Hg for approximately 60 min (until arterial lactate concentration was 7.0 mmol/L), followed by a 1-h transfusion and 2 h of maintenance.

Results: Arterial ionized calcium concentration, total peripheral resistance, and myocardial function decreased significantly during hemorrhage. All aforementioned responses but myocardial function continued to decrease during the initial 20 min of transfusion, then began to recover. Total peripheral resistance and end-systolic elastance were the only factors significantly related to calcium concentration.

Conclusion: Transfusion with citrated whole blood may significantly alter calcium concentration, negatively affecting myocardial and vascular function.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Comparative Medicine, Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, North Carolina 2: Department of Emergency Medicine Research, Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication date: 1999-08-01

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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