Survey Examines Platelet Use in US Hospitals

July 28, 2021

Results from a survey of 481 hospitals in the United States may help increase understanding of the current state of platelet practice and supply. A workgroup of transfusion medicine physicians within the Consortium for Blood Availability developed and distributed a 27-question survey to nearly 995 hospitals. The survey captures information on transfusion practice and inventory management, including stock levels, outdate rates, ability to return or transfer platelets, and low-dose platelets. They published their findings last week in Transfusion

According to the authors, the results suggest there are opportunities to introduce platelet transfusion guidelines or to improve compliance with these guidelines. In this survey, 25% of respondents reported not having a policy for appropriate platelet thresholds, including 20% of hospitals with high usage. Additionally, among hospitals with guidelines, 29% reported monitoring adherence prospectively versus 44% retrospectively; 7% reported they were not monitoring adherence.

The survey also found that higher outdate rates occurred in hospitals with lower annual platelet utilization and in hospitals stocking fewer than five platelets. The authors noted that, in this setting, stocking fewer platelets and/or improving logistics to allow a more rapid supply of platelets may be warranted. In addition, 38% percent of respondents reported the ability to return platelets. Hospitals that reported not being able to return platelets to their blood supplier or transfer to other hospitals had higher outdate rates.

Results also indicated that the use of low-dose apheresis platelets varies, and that decreased platelet availability is commonly reported, especially in hospitals with high usage. According to the authors, this may lead to delays in transfusions or surgeries. They concluded that the survey findings should be considered when developing policies that could impact the platelet supply and encouraged evaluation of strategies that can safely increase platelet availability in the coming years.