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A therapeutic platelet transfusion strategy is safe and feasible in patients after autologous peripheral blood stem cell transplantation


Prophylactic platelet transfusions are considered as standard in most hematology centers, but there is a long-standing controversy as to whether standard prophylactic platelet transfusions are necessary or whether this strategy could be replaced by a therapeutic transfusion strategy. In 106 consecutive cases of patients receiving 140 autologous peripheral blood stem cell transplantations, we used a therapeutic platelet transfusion protocol when patients were in a clinically stable condition. Platelet transfusions were only used when relevant bleeding occurred (more than petechial). Median duration of thrombocytopenia <20 × 109/l and <10 × 109/l was 6 and 3 days, which resulted in a total of 989 and 508 days, respectively. In only 26 out of 140 transplants (19%), we observed clinically relevant bleeding of minor or moderate severity. No severe or life-threatening bleeding was registered. The median and mean number of single donor platelet transfusions was one per transplant (range 0–18). One-third of all transplants, and 47% after high-dose melphalan could be performed without any platelet transfusion. Compared with a historical control group, we could reduce the number of platelet transfusions by one half. This therapeutic platelet transfusion strategy can be performed safely resulting in a considerable reduction in prophylactic platelet transfusions.

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We thank Rex Nichols for preparing the manuscript and the staff of the bone marrow transplant unit at the Nuremberg hospital for the continuous support during the study.

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Correspondence to H Wandt.

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Wandt, H., Schaefer-Eckart, K., Frank, M. et al. A therapeutic platelet transfusion strategy is safe and feasible in patients after autologous peripheral blood stem cell transplantation. Bone Marrow Transplant 37, 387–392 (2006).

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  • platelet transfusion
  • autologous transplantation
  • bleeding complication

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