Get access

An audit of platelet transfusion within the Wellington Cancer Centre

Authors

  • D. C. Buhrkuhl,

    Corresponding author
    1. Wellington Cancer Centre, Capital and Coast District Health Board, Wellington, New Zealand
      Daren C. Buhrkuhl, Wellington Cancer Centre, Capital and Coast District Health Board, Private Bag 7902, Riddiford Street, Wellington 6242, New Zealand. Email: darenbuhrkuhl@gmail.com
    Search for more papers by this author
  • M. K. P. Karlsson,

    1. Wellington Cancer Centre, Capital and Coast District Health Board, Wellington, New Zealand
    Search for more papers by this author
  • J. M. Carter

    1. Wellington Cancer Centre, Capital and Coast District Health Board, Wellington, New Zealand
    Search for more papers by this author

  • Funding: None.

  • Conflict of interest: None.

Daren C. Buhrkuhl, Wellington Cancer Centre, Capital and Coast District Health Board, Private Bag 7902, Riddiford Street, Wellington 6242, New Zealand. Email: darenbuhrkuhl@gmail.com

Abstract

Aim:  An audit of platelet transfusion was performed to assess adherence to local prophylactic policy and to assess if therapeutic transfusions were administered in line with international recommendations.

Methods:  A prospective audit of platelet transfusion therapy was conducted at the Wellington Cancer Centre in patients with hypoproliferative thrombocytopenia over a 3-month period from 26 January 2008 to 30 April 2008. There were 398 episodes of evaluable clinical decision activity generated through either platelet counts <50 × 109/L or platelet transfusion events. Each episode was assessed and defined as either adhering to or breaching the local prophylactic platelet transfusion policy.

Results:  Thrombocytopenia and/or platelet transfusion occurred in 63 patients aged 16–84 years with either a haematological or solid organ malignancy. Decisions to withhold prophylactic platelet transfusion in thrombocytopenic patients adhered to policy for 99% of platelet counts <50 × 109/L. Where transfusions were administered, 77% were prophylactic and 23% were for therapeutic indications. Prophylactic transfusions adhered to policy for 72% of platelet counts <50 × 109/L. Adherence to prophylactic transfusion policy for febrile patients with a threshold of ≤15 × 109/L was 84%, compared to 63% for stable afebrile patients with a threshold of ≤10 × 109/L. Where policy was breached, in 80% of cases the platelet count had not reached the prophylactic transfusion threshold. Of the clinical decisions leading to therapeutic transfusions, 67% were deemed appropriate and predominantly a single adult therapeutic dose of platelets was administered. Where multiple doses of platelets were transfused, 86% of these transfusion events either breached policy or were deemed suboptimal management.

Conclusion:  The audit demonstrated a high rate of adherence to local transfusion policy. Where policy was breached, predominantly a transfusion had occurred prior to a platelet count reaching the pre-defined trigger. The use of multiple dose platelet transfusions was almost never appropriate. Educating staff in the use of a stringent transfusion policy may lead to reductions in platelet product use.

Get access to the full text of this article

Ancillary