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Ann Hematol. 2003 Sep;82(9):570-3. Epub 2003 Aug 2.

Safety of lumbar puncture for adults with acute leukemia and restrictive prophylactic platelet transfusion.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital of Zurich, Raemistrasse 100, 8091, Zurich, Switzerland.


No data exist on the trigger for platelet transfusions in adult thrombocytopenic patients with acute leukemia undergoing lumbar puncture (LP). We reviewed the records of 66 patients with acute leukemia (median age 38 years, range 18-68) who have been treated in our institution for 6 years. A total of 195 LPs were performed. No serious hemorrhagic complications occurred, but there was a significant trend towards a higher percentage of traumatic procedures, defined as the occurrence of >500 erythrocytes per high-power field, in patients with lowest platelet counts ( p<0.005). Although not associated with serious clinical bleeding events in this study, the increased occurrence of traumatic procedures may indicate an increased risk for more serious hemorrhagic complications, implying a trigger not lower than 20x10(9)/L for prophylactic transfusions of platelets in adult patients with acute leukemia undergoing LP.

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