Antibodies to HLA-antigens remain a problem in multiply-transfused patients. Over a 2 yr period 44 bone marrow transplant recipients were screened at weekly intervals for the presence of HLA-antibodies using a solid phase red cell adherence technique. An adaptation of this method was used to provide cross-matched random donor platelets (XMRDP) when screening proved positive. Twelve of the 44 patients were antibody positive, 6 prior to transplantation and 6 following the transplant. Those 4 patients who developed an antibody following the transplant had a significant increase in platelet increments following the change from random donor platelets (RDP) to XMRDP even though only one patient was refractory to platelets at the time the antibody was first detected. No significant bleeding occurred during the study period.
The use of routine platelet antibody screening followed by platelet cross-matching allows excellent support of thrombocytopenic patients without requiring HLA-typed blood donors and avoiding clinical platelet refractoriness.