Peridischarge prophylactic platelet transfusions after stem cell transplant: is a tranfusion trigger needed?

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We examined the appropriateness of prophylactic peridischarge platelet (PLT) transfusions and the feasibility of lowering the prophylactic PLT transfusion threshold in transplant recipients within 24 hours of discharge at a National Cancer Institute–designated comprehensive cancer center.


From April 2011 to June 2014, each prophylactic PLT transfusion that was administered to transplant recipients within 24 hours of discharge was identified. Each transfusion was reviewed to identify the indication and to determine if the transfusion adhered to institutional guidelines.


Of the 187 transplant patients identified, 44 patients received a prophylactic PLT transfusion within 24 hours of discharge. Of these 44 patients, transfusions were administered to fulfill a PLT count of 20 × 109/L required for discharge (n = 25 patients), for the removal of a tunneled central venous catheter (n = 16 patients), for active bleeding (n = 1 patient), or due to active anticoagulation (n = 2 patients).


The majority of PLT transfusions (95%) were appropriate, and only 5% were avoidable. If the prophylactic PLT transfusion threshold was decreased to 15 × 109/L from 20 × 109/L for central line removal and to fulfill discharge PLT count criteria, 41% of the currently appropriate PLT transfusions could have been avoided. These results suggest that a risk-adapted method to select autologous transplant recipients for prophylactic PLT transfusions may be beneficial. A future study is needed to address this issue.

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