DOCTORS in Southampton are trialling a new treatment which could improve survival rates among trauma patients.

Approximately 5,400 people die from major trauma incidents each year, such as road accidents or stabbings and it is the most common cause of death in people under the age of 45, due to uncontrolled bleeding.

The study will involve 1,568 patients and there are 559 people signed up.

Patients normally receive blood transfusions first and a frozen blood product separately as part of the resuscitation process.

The frozen blood contains high levels of the blood clotting protein which acts as a glue to hold blood clots together. When patients are low on this blood clotting fibre, clots do not form properly and the body cannot stop significant blood loss.

Now trauma specialists at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust are studying whether or not giving patients frozen blood and transfusions together within 90 minutes of arrival at hospital to stop blood loss sooner.

Professor Robert Crouch, deputy director of major trauma at UHS, said: "This is a study which could have a significant impact on the treatment trauma patients receive across the world.

"Major trauma care is always a real team effort and this study encompasses that, with paramedics, the hospital-based trauma team and research staff all working closely to identify appropriate patients.

"This includes blood transfusion biomedical scientists who play a key role in delivering the trial and, importantly, rapidly provide the blood products needed."

The research is taking place at all major trauma centres in England, including centres in Wales and America. It is also being coordinated by researchers at NHS Blood and Transplant and Queen Mary University London.

Doctor Bentley Waller, who is leading the study, said: "Patients who have severe bleeding after injury develop a problem with their clotting system which means that they tend to bleed more.

"What this study – the largest ever carried out into traumatic major haemorrhage – will tell us is whether or not giving cryoprecipitate treatment earlier reduces death rates in trauma patients with severe bleeding."

The study is being funded by the National Institute for Health Research.