NHRMC's Critical Care Transport Team One of the First in NC to Offer Life-Saving Therapy for Trauma Patients

December 11, 2014

WILMINGTON- A drug that was proven on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan to help stem severe bleeding following traumatic injury is now being administered by New Hanover Regional Medical Center's AirLink VitaLink Critical Care Transport, one of the first air medical transport services in the state to use it.

Tranexamic Acid (TXA) is most effective to slow severe bleeding when administered within one hour of a severe injury, AirLink VitaLink is now able to administer this life-saving intervention prior to a patient's arrival at the NHRMC Trauma Center.

Following a major injury, the body can quickly exhaust its ability to clot blood. Tranexamic Acid works by promoting the body's ability to clot. Studies have shown that administering TXA to severely injured patients before they arrive at a trauma center can help to reduce their risk of death by more than 30 percent.

“The more rapidly we can control major internal and external bleeding and begin replacing blood, the better a patient's chances for a positive outcome," said Thomas Clancy, MD, medical director of Trauma Services at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. "With the addition of TXA to the comprehensive care offered by the AirLink VitaLink team, patients being transferred to NHRMC for trauma care can receive interventions to stop bleeding as soon as our staff arrives at their side."

Tranexamic Acid is commonly administered within trauma centers, but during the recent wars, its use was studied in the battlefield and proven to be safe and highly effective in stabilizing patients before they arrived at a trauma center. Now available on both AirLink helicopters and on every VitaLink critical care ambulance, TXA is administered to trauma patients who have vital signs or laboratory data that suggests severe bleeding.

"We are excited to be a leader in bringing this life-saving intervention to the bedside of patients throughout southeastern North Carolina," said John Popella, director of AirLink VitaLink Critical Care Transport. "By administering TXA at the scene of an accident, or at a referral hospital's patient's bedside, we will be providing care previously only available inside the walls of a trauma center.”

About NHRMC Emergency Transport Services
New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s Emergency Transport Services division is a leader in setting standards for exceptional pre-hospital care and consists of two patient transport departments. NHRMC Emergency Medical Services is New Hanover County's 911 emergency paramedic service and includes a community paramedic program. NHRMC AirLink VitaLink Critical Care Transport is a comprehensive transport program offering air medical transportation, ground mobile intensive care units, as well as basic and intermediate life support medical transportation. It also includes the Regional Transfer Center, which coordinates patient transfers across the region, and VitaLine, the region's 24-hour, non-emergency nurse help line. NHRMC Emergency Transport Services operates two helicopters and 45 ground emergency vehicles with annual mileage exceeding 1.1 million miles. It employs more than 200 medical and administrative staff and responded to more than 47,000 requests for transport services in 2013.

New Hanover Regional Medical Center is the leading provider of quality and accessible health care in Southeastern North Carolina, delivering care to all in need, without the support of taxpayer dollars. The medical center takes seriously its responsibility as an economic engine for the community, creating more than 6,000 jobs directly and another 6,000 jobs indirectly.