HRMA, Military Medical Laboratory Capacity, Brussels, Belgium. UCL, Cliniques Universitaires Saint Luc, Université Catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium. VIPER Research Unit, Royal Military Academy, Brussels, Belgium. Human Physiology Department, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium.
BACKGROUND The major causes of death of combat casualties in austere environments are related to hemorrhage and occur early after injury. The implementation of a walking blood bank may overcome the logistical issues raised using blood component therapy. Nonetheless, it is important to ensure that this buddy transfusion is not going to compromise the mission success by altering the donor's
performance. The results available so far cannot rule out this issue with certainty. Therefore, this study aimed at investigating the immediate effect of a 450-ml blood donation on the performances of elite soldiers in laboratory and field environments. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS This double-blind, randomized controlled study included two experiments. For both experiments, subjects were randomly assigned either to a control group (n(1) = n(2) = 7) or to a 450-ml-blood-bag donation group (n(1) = 7 and n(2) = 8). All participants underwent before and after a potential blood donation a multifactorial assessment including adapted physical tasks, hematological variables, vigilance parameters, and subjective assessments. RESULTS No significant results were evidenced in this study. There was no impact of blood donation on the participants' performances in both the hospital and the combat-like environments. CONCLUSION From a donor's point of view, a 450-ml blood donation has no impact on the required abilities of our elite soldiers to fulfill a demanding tactical mission. Thus, the results of this study support the fact that buddy transfusions could be part of the operational clinical armamentarium in austere environments for elite soldiers when no blood components are available.