Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Hemostatic treatment with plasma versus 4-factor PCC in the critically ill

For patients in the ICU with coagulopathy and associated World Health Organization (WHO) grade 3 or 4 bleeding, which hemostatic therapy -- plasma versus 4-factor prothrombin complex concentrates -- is preferred?

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Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Bleeding is frequently encountered in the ICU and is associated with substantial morbidity and associated mortality. When bleeding occurs, coagulopathy is often present and the optimal coagulation factor management regimen remains a matter of debate. Traditionally (and presently in the US), plasma transfusion has been a cornerstone therapy for the replacement of coagulation factor content in this setting. Moreover, recent evidence supporting the use of plasma in the setting of trauma-related hemorrhage seems to have also generated a renewed enthusiasm for plasma transfusion in other critical care settings.


In many locations, there is interest in alternatives to plasma transfusion such as four-factor prothrombin complex concentrates (PCC4) for ICU patients with bleeding. In some locations, factor concentrates have entirely replaced plasma transfusion. However, evidence regarding the benefits and risks of PCC4 versus plasma in ICU patients is lacking. Therefore, we would aim to study the comparative efficacy and risks of a hemostatic strategy relying on PCC4 versus plasma for ICU patients with coagulopathy and bleeding.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Coagulopathy and associated bleeding are common in the intensive care unit environment. Therefore, we believe a multicenter clinical trial evaluating the knowledge gap identified above would be feasible with NHLBI support. Of note, due to the labeled contraindication of disseminated intravascular coagulation for PCC4, such patients would need to be excluded from this trial. Similarly, coagulation abnormalities resulting from congenital coagulation factor deficiencies for which there is a specific coagulation factor product available would also be excluded.


Notably, improved management of coagulopathic bleeding has the potential to impact both clinical outcomes and healthcare resource utilization. Therefore, the outcomes of a trial addressing this knowledge gap would include patient-important outcomes (e.g. mortality, length of hospital stay, bleeding, transfusion-related respiratory complications, thromboembolic complications) as well as outcomes related to healthcare utilization (e.g. product cost, total blood products consumed, interventions required to achieve hemostasis such as surgery or embolization).

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Daryl J. Kor, MD and Walter H. Dzik, MD for the 2015 NHLBI State of the Science in Transfusion Medicine


28 net votes
43 up votes
15 down votes
Idea No. 408