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Transfusion. 2009 Oct;49(10):2034-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1537-2995.2009.02253.x. Epub 2009 Jun 23.

Testing platelet mass versus platelet count to guide platelet transfusions in the neonatal intensive care unit.

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Department of Women and Newborns, Intermountain Healthcare, Division of Pediatric Pathology, Primary Children's Medical Center, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.



Platelet (PLT) transfusions can bestow significant benefits but they also carry risks. This study sought a safe means of reducing PLT transfusions to neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) patients with thrombocytopenia by comparing two transfusion guidelines, one based on PLT count and the other on PLT mass (PLT count times mean PLT volume).


Using a prospective, two-centered, before versus after design, PLT transfusion usage and hemorrhagic events were contrasted during a period when PLT count-based transfusion guidelines were in use (Period 1) versus a period when PLT mass-based guidelines were in use (Period 2).


No differences were observed between Periods 1 and 2 in NICU admissions, sex, race/ethnicity, percentage of inborn patients, or percentage of patients with a PLT count less than 50 x 10(9) or 51 x 10(9) to 99 x 10(9)/L. In the first period 3.6% of NICU admissions received one or more PLT transfusions. This fell to 1.9% during the second period (p < 0.002). The number of PLT transfusions administered per transfused patient was the same in both periods: 2.0 (1-23) (median [range]) in Period 1 and 2.0 (1-17) in Period 2 (p > 0.40). Significantly fewer PLT transfusions were given in Period 2 for prophylaxis (patient not bleeding; p < 0.001 vs. Period 1). The number given for bleeding did not change between the two periods. In Period 2 no increases were seen in rate of intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH); Grade 3 or 4 IVH; or pulmonary, gastrointestinal, or cutaneous bleeding.


The use of PLT mass-based NICU transfusion guidelines was associated with fewer PLT transfusions and no recognized increase in hemorrhagic problems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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