• cryopreservation;
  • hemostasis;
  • lyophilization;
  • plateletpheresis;
  • thrombocytopenia


Objective – To review potential platelet storage options, guidelines for administration of platelets, and adverse events associated with platelet transfusions.

Data Sources – Data sources included original research publications and scientific reviews.

Human Data Synthesis – Transfusion of platelet concentrates (PCs) plays a key role in the management of patients with severe thrombocytopenia. Currently PCs are stored at 22°C under continuous gentle agitation for up to 5 days. Chilling of platelets is associated with rapid clearance of transfused platelets, and galactosylation of platelets has proven unsuccessful in prolonging platelet survival. Although approved by the American Association of Blood Banks, cryopreservation of human platelets in 6% DMSO largely remains a research technique. Pre-storage leukoreduction of PCs has reduced but not eliminated acute inflammatory transfusion reactions, with platelet inflammatory mediators contributing to such reactions.

Veterinary Data Synthesis – Canine plateletpheresis allows collection of a concentrate with a high platelet yield, typically 3–4.5 × 1011 versus <1 × 1011 for whole blood-derived platelets, improving the ability to provide sufficient platelets to meet the recipient's transfusion needs. Cryopreservation of canine platelets in 6% DMSO offers immediate availability of platelets, with an acceptable posttransfusion in vivo platelet recovery and half-life of 50% and 2 days, respectively. While data on administration of rehydrated lyophilized platelets in bleeding animal models are encouraging, due to a short lifespan (min) posttransfusion, their use will be limited to control of active bleeding, without a sustained increase in platelet count.

Conclusions – Fresh PC remains the product of choice for control of bleeding due to severe thrombocytopenia or thrombopathia. While cryopreservation and lyophilization of canine platelets offer the benefits of immediate availability and long-term storage, the compromise is decreased in vivo recovery and survival of platelets and some degree of impaired function, though such products could still be life saving.