Romiplostim in the management of the thrombocytopenic surgical patient

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Thrombopoietin receptor agonists increase platelet (PLT) counts and are approved for the treatment of chronic immune thrombocytopenia (ITP). These agents may also be useful for the management of thrombocytopenia in patients requiring surgical procedures.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS:

We conducted a retrospective review of patients with thrombocytopenia (baseline PLT count, <150 × 109/L) who received romiplostim before planned operative procedures. We characterized patient demographics, dosing and duration of romiplostim use, success in achieving PLT counts high enough for surgery, and clinical outcomes.

RESULTS:

Eighteen patients underwent a total of 22 operative procedures, including three Jehovah's Witnesses who underwent five procedures. Etiologies of thrombocytopenia included mild ITP (not on romiplostim at baseline), liver disease, hematologic malignancy, and drug-related thrombocytopenia. Median PLT count at romiplostim initiation was 47 × 109/L (range, 11 × 109-120 × 109/L). All patients experienced a PLT count increase over a median of 4 weeks; median PLT count at surgery was 144 × 109/L (range, 28 × 109-370 × 109/L). PLT counts increase to more than 150 × 109/L in four of five Jehovah's Witness patients by the time of surgery. There were no surgical delays or cancellations due to thrombocytopenia. Four bleeding events occurred; none were fatal and none occurred at a PLT count of fewer than 80 × 109/L. No definitive thromboembolic events occurred.

CONCLUSION:

Romiplostim successfully increased preoperative PLT counts allowing operative interventions, was well tolerated, did not lead to any significant thromboembolic events, and avoided the need for transfusion. Romiplostim may be of clinical utility in the preoperative management of thrombocytopenic patients, especially those unable to receive or unresponsive to PLT transfusion.

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