Platelet transfusions are used in modern clinical practice to prevent and treat bleeding in people who are thrombocytopenic due to bone marrow failure. Although considerable advances have been made in platelet transfusion therapy in the last 40 years, some areas continue to provoke debate, especially concerning the use of prophylactic platelet transfusions for the prevention of thrombocytopenic bleeding.This is an update of a Cochrane review first published in 2004, and updated in 2012 that addressed four separate questions: prophylactic versus therapeutic-only platelet transfusion policy; prophylactic platelet transfusion threshold; prophylactic platelet transfusion dose; and platelet transfusions compared to alternative treatments. This review has now been split into four smaller reviews; this review compares different platelet transfusion doses.
To determine whether different doses of prophylactic platelet transfusions (platelet transfusions given to prevent bleeding) affect their efficacy and safety in preventing bleeding in people with haematological disorders undergoing myelosuppressive chemotherapy with or without haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT).
We searched for randomised controlled trials in the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (Cochrane Library 2015, Issue 6), MEDLINE (from 1946), Embase (from 1974), CINAHL (from 1937), the Transfusion Evidence Library (from 1950), and ongoing trial databases to 23 July 2015.
Randomised controlled trials involving transfusions of platelet concentrates, prepared either from individual units of whole blood or by apheresis, and given to prevent bleeding in people with malignant haematological disorders or undergoing HSCT that compared different platelet component doses (low dose 1.1 x 10(11)/m(2) ± 25%, standard dose 2.2 x 10(11)/m(2) ± 25%, high dose 4.4 x 10(11)/m(2) ± 25%).
We used the standard methodological procedures expected by The Cochrane Collaboration.
We included seven trials (1814 participants) in this review; six were conducted during one course of treatment (chemotherapy or HSCT).Overall the methodological quality of studies was low to moderate across different outcomes according to GRADE methodology. None of the included studies were at low risk of bias in every domain, and all the included studies had some threats to validity.Five studies reported the number of participants with at least one clinically significant bleeding episode within 30 days from the start of the study. There was no difference in the number of participants with a clinically significant bleeding episode between the low-dose and standard-dose groups (four studies; 1170 participants; risk ratio (RR) 1.04, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.95 to 1.13; moderate-quality evidence); low-dose and high-dose groups (one study; 849 participants; RR 1.02, 95% CI 0.93 to 1.11; moderate-quality evidence); or high-dose and standard-dose groups (two studies; 951 participants; RR 1.02, 95% CI 0.93 to 1.11; moderate-quality evidence).Three studies reported the number of days with a clinically significant bleeding event per participant. There was no difference in the number of days of bleeding per participant between the low-dose and standard-dose groups (two studies; 230 participants; mean difference -0.17, 95% CI -0.51 to 0.17; low quality evidence). One study (855 participants) showed no difference in the number of days of bleeding per participant between high-dose and standard-dose groups, or between low-dose and high-dose groups (849 participants).Three studies reported the number of participants with severe or life-threatening bleeding. There was no difference in the number of participants with severe or life-threatening bleeding between a low-dose and a standard-dose platelet transfusion policy (three studies; 1059 participants; RR 1.33, 95% CI 0.91 to 1.92; low-quality evidence); low-dose and high-dose groups (one study; 849 participants; RR 1.20, 95% CI 0.82 to 1.77; low-quality evidence); or high-dose and standard-dose groups (one study; 855 participants; RR 1.11, 95% CI 0.73 to 1.68; low-quality evidence).Two studies reported the time to first bleeding episodes; we were unable to perform a meta-analysis. Both studies (959 participants) individually found that the time to first bleeding episode was either the same, or longer, in the low-dose group compared to the standard-dose group. One study (855 participants) found that the time to the first bleeding episode was the same in the high-dose group compared to the standard-dose group.Three studies reported all-cause mortality within 30 days from the start of the study. There was no difference in all-cause mortality between treatment arms (low-dose versus standard-dose: three studies; 1070 participants; RR 2.04, 95% CI 0.70 to 5.93; low-quality evidence; low-dose versus high-dose: one study; 849 participants; RR 1.33, 95% CI 0.50 to 3.54; low-quality evidence; and high-dose versus standard-dose: one study; 855 participants; RR 1.71, 95% CI 0.51 to 5.81; low-quality evidence).Six studies reported the number of platelet transfusions; we were unable to perform a meta-analysis. Two studies (959 participants) out of three (1070 participants) found that a low-dose transfusion strategy led to more transfusion episodes than a standard-dose. One study (849 participants) found that a low-dose transfusion strategy led to more transfusion episodes than a high-dose strategy. One study (855 participants) out of three (1007 participants) found no difference in the number of platelet transfusions between the high-dose and standard-dose groups.One study reported on transfusion reactions. This study's authors suggested that a high-dose platelet transfusion strategy may lead to a higher rate of transfusion-related adverse events.None of the studies reported quality-of-life.
In haematology patients who are thrombocytopenic due to myelosuppressive chemotherapy or HSCT, we found no evidence to suggest that a low-dose platelet transfusion policy is associated with an increased bleeding risk compared to a standard-dose or high-dose policy, or that a high-dose platelet transfusion policy is associated with a decreased risk of bleeding when compared to a standard-dose policy.A low-dose platelet transfusion strategy leads to an increased number of transfusion episodes compared to a standard-dose strategy. A high-dose platelet transfusion strategy does not decrease the number of transfusion episodes per participant compared to a standard-dose regimen, and it may increase the number of transfusion-related adverse events.Findings from this review would suggest a change from current practice, with low-dose platelet transfusions used for people receiving in-patient treatment for their haematological disorder and high-dose platelet transfusion strategies not being used routinely.