Associate Surgeon, Division of Trauma, Burns, and Surgical Critical Care, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
The Local Initiative For Emergency Blood (LIFE-Blood) Study: Civilian Walking Blood Banks for Hemorrhagic Shock When Stored Blood is Unavailable
Millions die of hemorrhage from trauma each year in settings without access to sufficient blood for transfusion. The United States military has leveraged recent advances in the use of whole blood for trauma and in point-of-care blood testing technology to design a process of emergent blood transfusion in austere, battlefield settings without a blood bank. This innovative strategy is known as a “Walking Blood Bank” (WBB), and its application to the civilian sector in blood-deficient settings in low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs) could save millions of lives each year. However, little was known about WBBs outside of the military context, and there were significant concerns about its transferability to civilian settings in LMICs with higher rates of transfusion transmissible infections (HIV, Hepatitis B, and C, Syphilis).
With Stepping Strong Innovator Award funding, Nakul Raykar, MD, MPH, and his team established the need, safety, and feasibility of a civilian WBB at Lodwar County Referral Hospital, located in one of Kenya’s most remote and medically underserved regions.
With Stepping Strong Breakthrough Award funding, Dr. Raykar will pilot a context-appropriate civilian WBB in Lodwar, and study its implementation as well as its transferability to other settings within Kenya. His goal is to demonstrate the effectiveness of a civilian WBB in a low-resource setting and generate evidence-based recommendations for its uptake and adoption to address the massive blood crisis affecting the world’s poorest trauma patients.
Nakul Raykar, MD, MPH, is a trauma surgeon with a focus on the intersection of global health, public health, and surgery. He is currently the fellowship director of the Harvard Medical School Program in Global Surgery and Social Change and affiliate faculty at the Center of Surgery and Public Health at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. While he was completing his general surgery training at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, he obtained his Master’s in Public Health at the Harvard School of Public Health and completed a Paul Farmer Global Surgery Research Fellowship at the Harvard Program in Global Surgery and Social Change. During this time, he also served as one of the core writers and Implementation Commissioner for The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery. He then completed a trauma, acute care, and global health surgery fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh before joining the Division of Trauma, Emergency Surgery, and Surgical Critical Care at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 2020. His research interests are focused on novel strategies for blood transfusion, hemorrhage control techniques, and trauma systems in low-resource settings.