Towards increasing shelf life and haemostatic potency of stored platelet concentrates

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Purpose of reviewPlatelet transfusion is a widely used therapy in treating or preventing bleeding and haemorrhage in patients with thrombocytopenia or trauma. Compared with the relative ease of platelet transfusion, current practice for the storage of platelets is inefficient, costly and relatively unsafe, with platelets stored at room temperature (RT) for upto 5–7 days.Recent findingsDuring storage, especially at cold temperatures, platelets undergo progressive and deleterious changes, collectively termed the ‘platelet storage lesion’, which decrease their haemostatic function and posttransfusion survival. Recent progress in understanding platelet activation and host clearance mechanisms is leading to the consideration of both old and novel storage conditions that use refrigeration and/or cryopreservation to overcome various storage lesions and significantly extend platelet shelf-life with a reduced risk of pathogen contamination.SummaryA review of the advantages and disadvantages of alternative methods for platelet storage is presented from both a clinical and biological perspective. It is anticipated that future platelet preservation involving cold, frozen and/or pathogen reduction strategies in a proper platelet additive solution will enable longer term and safer platelet storage.

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