Therapeutic Plasma Transfusion in Bleeding Patients: A Systematic Review

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Plasma products, including fresh frozen plasma, are administered extensively in a variety of settings from massive transfusion to vitamin K antagonist reversal. Despite the widespread use of plasma as a hemostatic agent in bleeding patients, its effect in comparison with other available choices of hemostatic therapies is unclear. We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE, PubMed Central, and databases of ongoing trials for randomized controlled trials that assessed the efficacy and/or safety of therapeutic plasma as an intervention to treat bleeding patients compared with other interventions or placebo. Of 1243 unique publications retrieved in our initial search, no randomized controlled trials were identified. Four nonrandomized studies described the effect of therapeutic plasma in bleeding patients; however, data gathered from these studies did not allow for comparison with other therapeutic interventions primarily as a result of the low number of patients and the use of different (or lack of) comparators. We identified two ongoing trials investigating the efficacy and safety of therapeutic plasma, respectively; however, no data have been released as yet. Although plasma is used extensively in the treatment of bleeding patients, evidence from randomized controlled trials comparing its effect with those of other therapeutic interventions is currently lacking.

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