Ever since platelet transfusions were shown to reduce mortality from haemorrhage in patients with acute leukaemia in the 1950s, the use of this therapy has steadily grown to become an essential part of the treatment of cancer, haematological malignancies, marrow failure, and haematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Today, more than 1·5 million platelet products are transfused in the USA each year, 2·9 million products in Europe. However, platelet transfusion can transmit infections and trigger serious immune reactions and they can be rendered ineffective by alloimmunisation. There are several types of platelet components and all can be modified to reduce the chances of many of the complications of platelet transfusion. Transfusion practices, including indications for transfusion, dose of platelets transfused, and methods of treating alloimmunised recipients vary between countries, and even within countries. We review commonly used platelet components, product modifications, transfusion practices, and adverse consequences of platelet transfusions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas