A synthetic haemoglobin-based oxygen carrier and the reversal of cardiac hypoxia secondary to severe anaemia following trauma

Mark C Fitzgerald, Julie Y Chan, Andrew W Ross, Susan M Liew, Warwick W Butt, David Baguley, Hatem H Salem, Matthias K Russ, Conor Deasy, Katherine E Martin, Joseph K Mathew and Jeffrey V Rosenfeld
Med J Aust 2011; 194 (9): 471-473.

We report a case of compassionate use of a haemoglobin-based oxygen carrier in a severely injured Jehovah’s Witness patient, for whom survival was considered unlikely. Severe anaemia and cardiac hypoxia were reversed after slow infusion of this agent. No vasoactive side effects were associated with the treatment, possibly due to the slow infusion, and the patient survived. (MJA 2011; 194: 471-473)

A healthy 32-year-old woman was a passenger in a vehicle involved in a high-speed collision with a truck, and she was entrapped for 2 hours. Initially, her heart rate was 100 beats/min, blood pressure was 90/50 mmHg, respiratory rate was 28 breaths/min and oxygen saturation measured by pulse oximetry (SpO2) was 92% on air. Her Glasgow Coma Scale score was 9 (eye opening, 2; verbal response, 1; motor response, 6) and her pupils were equal and reactive to light. Her family indicated that she was a Jehovah’s Witness and would not accept the units of blood that had been transported to the accident site. Paramedics performed endotracheal intubation, immobilisation, left femoral splinting and resuscitation with a 7000 mL crystalloid infusion, and applied dressings to wounds. The patient was transported by helicopter to The Alfred’s trauma centre.

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  • Mark C Fitzgerald1
  • Julie Y Chan1
  • Andrew W Ross1
  • Susan M Liew1
  • Warwick W Butt1
  • David Baguley1
  • Hatem H Salem1
  • Matthias K Russ1
  • Conor Deasy1,2
  • Katherine E Martin1
  • Joseph K Mathew1
  • Jeffrey V Rosenfeld2

  • 1 The Alfred, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 2 Monash University, Melbourne, VIC.


We thank Jeffrey Box (Senior Scientist, Clinical Biochemistry, Alfred Pathology Service) for advice and data related to potential effects of HBOC-201 on serum troponin I analysis.

Competing interests:

Mark Fitzgerald had travel and accommodation expenses covered by Biopure (the then manufacturer of HBOC-201) for attendance at a 2-day meeting in Boston in 2006 to provide independent commentary on a planned research project.

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