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Pilot Feasibility Stud. 2018 Jul 4;4:93. doi: 10.1186/s40814-018-0288-2. eCollection 2018.

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy for knee arthritis: a feasibility study in primary care.

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1Graduate Entry Medical School and Health Research Institute, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland.
2Department of Haematology, University College Hospital Galway, Galway, Ireland.
3Leiden University, Rapenburg 70, 2311 EZ Leiden, Holland Netherlands.
4Department of Clinical Therapies, Health Research Institute, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland.
5HRB Primary Care Clinical Trial Network Ireland, School of Medicine, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland.
6Research Institute for Primary Care and Health Sciences, Keele University, Staffordshire, UK.



Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a concentrate of autologous blood growth factors which has been shown to provide some symptomatic relief in early osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. The objective of this study was to test the feasibility and efficacy potential of platelet rich plasma (PRP) in primary care.


Feasibility study to assess safety of the intervention procedures and assess primary and secondary outcome measures. Consecutive patients presenting with symptomatic knee OA were recruited in a primary care setting in Ireland. All participants received three injections of PRP 4 weeks apart. The following self-reported clinical outcomes were evaluated before and after therapy (4 months): Pain and disability (ICOAP questionnaire); health utility (EUROQol); adverse events; patient satisfaction and goal-orientated outcomes.


Seventeen potential patients were identified of whom 14 were eligible to participate. Twelve consented and completed the intervention and all outcome measures. There were no losses to follow-up. One patient reported pain and stiffness for 2 days after the first injection but did complete the study. No growth was detected from nine consecutive samples sent for microbiology analysis. Changes in constant, intermittent and total pain scores were reported; pain fully resolved in two patients. In addition, health utility, patient satisfaction and goal-orientated outcomes also demonstrated improvement.


Platelet-rich plasma therapy is a simple and minimally invasive intervention which is feasible to deliver in primary care to treat osteoarthritis of the knee joint. Well-designed randomised controlled trials are needed to measure outcomes, durability of effect and cost effectiveness.


Chronic disease; Community medicine; Managed care; Musculoskeletal/connective tissue disorders; Orthopaedics; Osteoarthritis of the knee; Therapeutic injection

Conflict of interest statement

Ethical approval was granted by the Clinical Research Ethics Committee, Galway University Hospitals (Reference number 62/12; 10th May 2017), and all participants provided written informed consent.The authors declare that they have no competing interests.Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

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