Transfusing neonates based on platelet count vs. platelet mass: A randomized feasibility-pilot study
Zisk JL, Mackley A, Clearly G, Chang E, Christensen RD, Paul DA
Abstract The objective of this study was to obtain pilot data on which to judge the feasibility and sample size needed for a future comparative-effectiveness trial of platelet transfusions in the NICU. We conducted a limited-scope pilot trial in which neonates were randomized to receive platelet transfusions based on platelet mass vs. platelet count, using preset "transfusion-trigger" values. Analysis included parental consent rate, number of platelet transfusions given, bleeding episodes recorded, and mortality rate. Statistical analysis included ANOVA and Chi-square. A convenience sample of 30 were randomized; 15 per group. No differences were found between groups in gestational age, birth weight, race, gender or clinical diagnoses. The study consent rate was 52% (30/58). No differences were found in number of platelet transfusions received, bleeding episodes, or mortality. Lack of a trend in transfusion-reduction resulted in inability to estimate the number needed in a future comparative-effectiveness trial. Using platelet mass, rather than platelet count, for a NICU platelet transfusion trigger is feasible. However, any future comparative-effectiveness trial, testing the hypothesis that a platelet mass-based trigger reduces the transfusion rate will likely require a very large sample size.