Platelet Transfusion in Children with Cancer

What is this research about?

Platelet transfusion is an essential and very common aspect of supportive care for children with cancer. Previous literature suggests that 52% of all children with cancer will receive a platelet transfusion during treatment. Much of platelet transfusion practice for children is based on adult studies, although children may have a higher risk of bleeding and increased harm compared to adults. Data on children are lacking on the frequency of transfusions, how low the platelet count would have to be before a doctor orders a transfusion (pre-transfusion thresholds), what a normal response to transfusion is, as measured by the change in platelet count (post-transfusion increments), and the rate of platelet transfusion refractoriness (PTR). PTR, generally defined as repeated failure to achieve satisfactory responses to platelet transfusions, can be due to immune (e.g., presence of antibodies to platelet antigens that are not found on the child’s platelets) or nonimmune (e.g., infection) causes and can be associated with harmful outcomes like increased bleeding risk.

The objectives of this study were to: (1) Describe platelet transfusion practice for children with malignancy; (2) Determine the normal platelet increment following platelet transfusion and, (3) assess the rate of PTR (platelet increments ≤ 10 x109/L following two or more consecutive platelet transfusions).

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