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Transfusion. 2012 May;52 Suppl 1:20S-9S. doi: 10.1111/j.1537-2995.2012.03691.x.

Plasma transfusion for bedside, radiologically guided, and operating room invasive procedures.

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From the Department of Transfusion Medicine, NHSBT/Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, Level 2, John Radcliffe Hospital, Headington, Oxford, UK.


Frozen plasma (FP) is commonly used in an attempt to correct coagulation defects before performing bedside, radiologically guided, or operating room procedures. Use of FP prophylactically is closely linked to results for standard coagulation tests in the laboratory, including prothrombin time, but there is a general lack of evidence supporting the predictive value of abnormalities of these tests for bleeding. Use of FP has little effect on correcting abnormal coagulation tests when mild and moderate results are recorded. There is no support for evidence of effectiveness for the prophylactic use of FP when reviewing the wider randomized controlled trial literature. When the lack of clinical effectiveness is combined with the risks of FP transfusion, such as transfusion-related acute lung injury and transfusion-associated circulatory overload, the need to challenge continued preprocedure prophylactic use of FP becomes pressing. In clinical practice, abnormalities of standard coagulation tests should not be interpreted in isolation, but alongside review of clinical bleeding history and other hemostatic markers such as platelet count. A more appropriate transfusion strategy may be one that emphasizes the therapeutic use of FP.

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