Volume Resuscitation Laboratory Medicine

Updated: Oct 17, 2019
  • Author: Griffin L Davis, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Erik D Schraga, MD  more...
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Laboratory Medicine

Laboratory Medicine Summary

Several laboratory values will be useful both in the diagnostic evaluation of acute hemorrhage as well as in monitoring patients during volume resuscitation. Hemoglobin/hematocrit baseline should be established and frequently checked to assess for appropriate accommodation when transfusing blood or in the setting of acute hemorrhage. Each unit of packed red blood cells (PRBC) has a volume of 300 mL and contains about 200 mL of red blood cells, which should raise the hemoglobin by about 1 g/dL or the hematocrit by 3-4% in the setting of controlled or slow bleeding.

Arterial or venous blood gases will provide information about the pH and degree of metabolic acidosis from tissue hypoxia. Lactate, electrolytes, BUN, Cr, glucose, and calcium are all important markers of tissue and organ hypoxia and ensuing organ failure. All patients receiving a blood transfusion should have coagulation studies, platelet counts and be typed and cross-matched.