Preoperative platelet transfusions and perioperative red blood cell requirements in patients with thrombocytopenia undergoing noncardiac surgery

Matthew Warner, Qing Jia, Leanne Clifford, Gregory Wilson, Michael J. Brown, Andrew C. Hanson, Darrell R. Schroeder, Daryl J Kor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND Perioperative hemorrhage impacts patient outcomes and health care resource utilization, yet the risks of transfusion therapies are significant. In patients with preoperative thrombocytopenia, the effects of prophylactic preoperative platelet (PLT) transfusion on perioperative bleeding complications remain uncertain. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS This is a retrospective cohort study of noncardiac surgical patients between January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2011. Propensity-adjusted analyses were used to evaluate associations between preoperative thrombocytopenia, preoperative PLT transfusion, and the outcomes of interest, with a primary outcome of perioperative red blood cell (RBC) transfusion. RESULTS A total of 13,978 study participants were included; 860 (6.2%) had a PLT count of not more than 100 × 109/L with 71 (8.3%) receiving PLTs preoperatively. Administration of PLTs was associated with higher rates of perioperative RBC transfusion (66.2% vs. 49.1%, p = 0.0065); however, in propensity-adjusted analysis there was no significant difference between groups (odds ratio [OR] [95% confidence interval {95% CI}], 1.68 [0.95-2.99]; p = 0.0764]. Patients receiving PLTs had higher rates of intensive care unit (ICU) admission (OR [95% CI], 1.95 [1.10-3.46]; p = 0.0224) and longer hospital lengths of stay (estimate [95% bootstrap CI], 7.2 [0.8-13.9] days; p = 0.0006) in propensity-adjusted analyses. CONCLUSION Preoperative PLT transfusion did not attenuate RBC requirements in patients with thrombocytopenia undergoing noncardiac surgery. Moreover, preoperative PLT transfusion was associated with increased ICU admission rates and hospital duration. These findings suggest that more conservative management of preoperative thrombocytopenia may be warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)682-690
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy

Cite this