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Semin Fetal Neonatal Med. 2016 Feb;21(1):10-8. doi: 10.1016/j.siny.2015.11.001. Epub 2015 Dec 19.

Thrombocytopenia and platelet transfusion in the neonate.

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Department of Neonatology, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany. Electronic address:
Department of Neonatology, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany.
Department of Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin - Madison, Madison, WI, USA.


Neonatal thrombocytopenia is widespread in preterm and term neonates admitted to neonatal intensive care units, with up to one-third of infants demonstrating platelet counts <150 × 10(9)/L. Thrombocytopenia may arise from maternal, placental or fetal/neonatal origins featuring decreased platelet production, increased consumption, or both mechanisms. Over the past years, innovations in managing neonatal thrombocytopenia were achieved from prospectively obtained clinical data on thrombocytopenia and bleeding events, animal studies on platelet life span and production rate and clinical use of fully automated measurement of reticulated platelets (immature platelet fraction). This review summarizes the pathophysiology of neonatal thrombocytopenia, current management including platelet transfusion thresholds and recent developments in megakaryopoietic agents. Furthermore, we propose a novel index score for bleeding risk in thrombocytopenic neonates to facilitate clinician's decision-making when to transfuse platelets.


Bleeding index; Hemorrhage; Immature platelets; Megakaryopoiesis; Platelet function; Preterm; Reticulated platelets

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