Platelet resources

Previous national comparative audits of platelet transfusions and the use of platelets in haematology have indicated evidence of inappropriate administration, with platelet transfusions occurring outside confirmed guidelines. NHS Blood and Transplant have produced the following resources and collaborated with hospitals to support the appropriate use of platelets and reduce avoidable wastage.





Use of prophylactic platelet transfusions

The TOPPS study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in May 2013, was an international multi centre trial that evaluated whether a policy of not giving prophylactic platelet transfusions was as safe and effective as providing prophylaxis to patients with haematological malignancies.

The primary end point was bleeding, assessed using a modified WHO bleeding scale. The study showed that WHO grade 2 - 4 bleeding occurred in 50% of patients in the no-prophylaxis group compared to 43% in the prophylaxis group. Platelet usage was markedly reduced in the no-prophylaxis group. There was no difference in length of stay in hospital or serious adverse events between the prophylaxis or non-prophylaxis groups.

The results therefore support the continuing use of platelet prophylaxis in patients with haematological malignancy and thrombocytopenia, although further studies are required to improve understanding of risk factors for bleeding.

This poster summarises the findings; the paper is on the New England Journal of Medicine website


The platelet action group have translated five key messages on the safe and appropriate use of platelets into infographics. They have been designed to be used in teaching of clinical and transfusion laboratory staff. Please note the messages are not aimed at patients. They are free to use to supplement your teaching sessions, but please acknowledge the Platelet Action group.

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