BACKGROUND: Photodynamic virus inactivation of plasma with methylene blue significantly decreases the recovery of fibrinogen and coagulation factors V and VIII. Because an adequate supply of fibrinogen is essential for the therapeutic efficacy of transfused plasma in many clinical settings, it was plausible that transfusing photoinactivated plasma (PIP) instead of FFP would result in an increased demand for plasma and cryoprecipitate.
STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: The study involved a retrospective analysis of the use of plasma at a university hospital (Barcelona, Spain) over three 1-year periods: one before the implementation of PIP therapy and two after. Blood components transfused to plasma recipients were listed by broad diagnostic categories based on the Diagnosis-Related Group classification.
RESULTS: During the period under study, 2,967 patients were given plasma in this hospital. They received 27,434 units of plasma, 1,660 of cryoprecipitate, 10,079 of platelets, and 24,607 of packed RBCs. Patients undergoing surgical procedures accounted for 74 percent of all transfused plasma. In 71 percent of patient admissions, packed RBCs were transfused in addition to plasma. Diagnostic categories with the greatest requirement for plasma were cardiac valve surgery, liver transplant, wounds and traumatic injuries, and bowel surgery. The use of PIP was associated with a 56-percent increase in the aggregated demand for plasma, whereas the transfusion of non-virusinactivated cryoprecipitate increased twofold the first year and threefold the second year. The growth in the use of plasma took place in all the diagnostic categories. In those categories that include patients with liver disease, a partial substitution of PIP for cryoprecipitate was observed during the second year after PIP therapy implementation.
CONCLUSION: The use of PIP was associated with a marked increase in the demand for plasma and cryoprecipitate, which probably was due to the low hemostatic quality of the new component. It is possible that such an increase overrode the potential health benefits derived from transfusing virus-inactivated plasma.