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News : National Author: Staff Editor Last Updated: Jul 17, 2014 - 8:30:43 PM

Pitt Trauma Experts Aim to Reduce Deaths by Providing Blood-Clotting Agent on Medical Helicopters

By Staff Editor
Jul 17, 2014 - 8:27:50 PM

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( - PITTSBURGH, July 17, 2014 - Trauma experts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and UPMC will be launching a multi-center trial this summer to see if administering a blood-clotting drug to severely injured patients while they are being transported by helicopter to the hospital can improve survival rates.

Uncontrolled bleeding is a leading cause of death following a traumatic injury because it can lead to multiple organ failure and infection. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense, the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC, the trial will build on past research indicating that tranexamic acid, commonly used in cardiac surgery, can lower mortality in patients at risk of bleeding following injury.

"A quarter of patients with severe traumatic injuries present with a tendency toward bleeding, which is associated with death occurring in a relatively short time. By bringing this drug to patients before they even get to the hospital, we may save lives," said principal investigator Jason Sperry, M.D., associate professor of surgery and critical care medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

During the three-year study, STAT MedEvac will enroll patients with blunt or penetrating trauma at risk for significant hemorrhage. In severely injured patients, a clot which forms may begin to break down, leading to more bleeding. Tranexamic acid is used to prevent clot breakdown. Tranexamic acid will be given in a randomized fashion to patients carried by the helicopters to participating trauma centers.

Because patients who have suffered these kinds of injuries are likely unable to consent to participation in the trial, the study will be conducted under a federally authorized exception from the informed consent process. Community members who do not wish to participate in this research study can obtain a bracelet to opt out by contacting Meghan Buck at 412-864-1599, or by email at [email protected].

The research will be performed at UPMC Presbyterian and three other medical centers in the United States. More information is available at

video of Dr. Sperry discussing the Study of Tranexamic Acid During Air Medical Prehospital Transport Trial, or STAAMP trial, is available at the UPMC YouTube page.

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About the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

As one of the nation's leading academic centers for biomedical research, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine integrates advanced technology with basic science across a broad range of disciplines in a continuous quest to harness the power of new knowledge and improve the human condition. Driven mainly by the School of Medicine and its affiliates, Pitt has ranked among the top 10 recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health since 1998. In rankings recently released by the National Science Foundation, Pitt ranked fifth among all American universities in total federal science and engineering research and development support.

Likewise, the School of Medicine is equally committed to advancing the quality and strength of its medical and graduate education programs, for which it is recognized as an innovative leader, and to training highly skilled, compassionate clinicians and creative scientists well-equipped to engage in world-class research. The School of Medicine is the academic partner of UPMC, which has collaborated with the University to raise the standard of medical excellence in Pittsburgh and to position health care as a driving force behind the region's economy. For more information about the School of Medicine, see


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