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Iowa Methodist Medical Center Becomes First Trauma Center in Iowa to Use Whole Blood

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UnityPoint Health® - Iowa Methodist Medical Center, in partnership with LifeServe Blood Center, is providing whole blood transfusions to severely injured patients. Iowa Methodist Medical Center, the only Level 1 Trauma Center in Central Iowa, is the first hospital in Iowa to provide whole blood transfusions to these patients.

In traumatic injuries, when a patient experiences blood loss they lose all individual components, both oxygen carrying cells and clotting factors to stop bleeding. Studies have shown that in trauma situations a transfusion of whole blood may be more beneficial than individual component therapy. Military research has led the way in showing the benefits of using whole blood early in the resuscitation efforts of those severely injured leading to an increase in survival rates.

“For the past several decades, blood transfusions have been separated into three individual component therapies - red cells, plasma, and platelets - because most patients require only a part of a whole blood donation. The severely injured person isn’t bleeding individual components; they are bleeding whole blood,” says Richard Sidwell, MD, trauma surgeon at Iowa Methodist. “We are proud of the strong relationship between our organization and LifeServe to make this new therapy possible.”

LifeServe’s standard donation process means that one volunteer’s blood donation is separated out into these individual components creating a challenge in acquiring intact whole blood. Doctors would have to re-combine the individual components in attempt to mimic whole blood, but it is not the same.

“The outstanding partnership between LifeServe Blood Center and UnityPoint Health – Des Moines has been key in implementing whole blood transfusions in Central Iowa but treatment like this would not be possible without blood donation volunteers,” says Danielle West, LifeServe’s Director of PR & Marketing  “Each blood donor matters and plays a critical part in saving a life. There is always a need for whole blood, double red cell, platelet and plasma donations. Unfortunately, not all donations provided by volunteer donors meet the criteria needed for LifeServe to use that donation toward a whole blood transfusion. Whole blood products must be Type O Positive, from male donors and fall within a certain criterion for antibodies. The process to provide a whole blood product may take 3-5 days from order to delivery.”

To learn more about becoming a blood donor or to schedule a blood donation, visit LifeServe at www.lifeservebloodcenter.org.