31 results
Filters
Sort By
Results Per Page
Filters
31 results
Download the following citations:
Email the following citations:
Print the following citations:
Editor's Choice
  • Estcourt LJ
  • Kohli R
  • Hopewell S
  • Trivella M
  • Wang WC
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020 Jul 27;7(7):CD003146 doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD003146.pub4.
POPULATION:

Patients of all ages with sickle cell disease (SCD), (5 studies, n= 660).

INTERVENTION:

Red cell transfusions.

COMPARISON:

Standard care, or hydroxyurea and phlebotomy.

OUTCOME:

Red cell transfusions versus standard care: long term transfusions probably reduce the incidence of clinical stroke in children with a higher risk of stroke (abnormal transcranial doppler velocities or previous history of silent cerebral infarct). Long-term transfusions may: reduce the incidence of other sickle cell disease-related complications but make little or no difference to IQ scores. We are very uncertain whether long-term transfusions reduce the risk of transient ischaemic attacks, have any effect on all-cause mortality, or increase the risk of alloimmunisation. Hydroxyurea and phlebotomy versus red cell transfusions and chelation: Neither trial reported on neurological impairment, alloimmunisation, or quality of life. Switching to hydroxyurea and phlebotomy may have little or no effect on liver iron concentrations. We are very uncertain whether switching to hydroxyurea and phlebotomy has any effect on: risk of stroke, transient ischaemic attacks or other sickle cell disease-related complications. Switching to hydroxyurea and phlebotomy may: increase the risk of sickle cell disease-related serious adverse events, but have little or no effect on median liver iron. We are very uncertain whether switching to hydroxyurea and phlebotomy: increases the risk of stroke, or has any effect on all-cause mortality, or transient ischaemic attacks.

BACKGROUND:

Sickle cell disease is one of the commonest severe monogenic disorders in the world, due to the inheritance of two abnormal haemoglobin (beta globin) genes. Sickle cell disease can cause severe pain, significant end-organ damage, pulmonary complications, and premature death. Stroke affects around 10% of children with sickle cell anaemia (HbSS). Chronic blood transfusions may reduce the risk of vaso-occlusion and stroke by diluting the proportion of sickled cells in the circulation. This is an update of a Cochrane Review first published in 2002, and last updated in 2017.

OBJECTIVES:

To assess risks and benefits of chronic blood transfusion regimens in people with sickle cell disease for primary and secondary stroke prevention (excluding silent cerebral infarcts).

SEARCH METHODS:

We searched for relevant trials in the Cochrane Library, MEDLINE (from 1946), Embase (from 1974), the Transfusion Evidence Library (from 1980), and ongoing trial databases; all searches current to 8 October 2019. We searched the Cochrane Cystic Fibrosis and Genetic Disorders Group Haemoglobinopathies Trials Register: 19 September 2019.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

Randomised controlled trials comparing red blood cell transfusions as prophylaxis for stroke in people with sickle cell disease to alternative or standard treatment. There were no restrictions by outcomes examined, language or publication status.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

Two authors independently assessed trial eligibility and the risk of bias and extracted data.

MAIN RESULTS:

We included five trials (660 participants) published between 1998 and 2016. Four of these trials were terminated early. The vast majority of participants had the haemoglobin (Hb)SS form of sickle cell disease. Three trials compared regular red cell transfusions to standard care in primary prevention of stroke: two in children with no previous long-term transfusions; and one in children and adolescents on long-term transfusion. Two trials compared the drug hydroxyurea (hydroxycarbamide) and phlebotomy to long-term transfusions and iron chelation therapy: one in primary prevention (children); and one in secondary prevention (children and adolescents). The quality of the evidence was very low to moderate across different outcomes according to GRADE methodology. This was due to the trials being at a high risk of bias due to lack of blinding, indirectness and imprecise outcome estimates. Red cell transfusions versus standard care Children with no previous long-term transfusions Long-term transfusions probably reduce the incidence of clinical stroke in children with a higher risk of stroke (abnormal transcranial doppler velocities or previous history of silent cerebral infarct), risk ratio 0.12 (95% confidence interval 0.03 to 0.49) (two trials, 326 participants), moderate quality evidence. Long-term transfusions may: reduce the incidence of other sickle cell disease-related complications (acute chest syndrome, risk ratio 0.24 (95% confidence interval 0.12 to 0.48)) (two trials, 326 participants); increase quality of life (difference estimate -0.54, 95% confidence interval -0.92 to -0.17) (one trial, 166 participants); but make little or no difference to IQ scores (least square mean: 1.7, standard error 95% confidence interval -1.1 to 4.4) (one trial, 166 participants), low quality evidence. We are very uncertain whether long-term transfusions: reduce the risk of transient ischaemic attacks, Peto odds ratio 0.13 (95% confidence interval 0.01 to 2.11) (two trials, 323 participants); have any effect on all-cause mortality, no deaths reported (two trials, 326 participants); or increase the risk of alloimmunisation, risk ratio 3.16 (95% confidence interval 0.18 to 57.17) (one trial, 121 participants), very low quality evidence. Children and adolescents with previous long-term transfusions (one trial, 79 participants) We are very uncertain whether continuing long-term transfusions reduces the incidence of: stroke, risk ratio 0.22 (95% confidence interval 0.01 to 4.35); or all-cause mortality, Peto odds ratio 8.00 (95% confidence interval 0.16 to 404.12), very low quality evidence. Several review outcomes were only reported in one trial arm (sickle cell disease-related complications, alloimmunisation, transient ischaemic attacks). The trial did not report neurological impairment, or quality of life. Hydroxyurea and phlebotomy versus red cell transfusions and chelation Neither trial reported on neurological impairment, alloimmunisation, or quality of life. Primary prevention, children (one trial, 121 participants) Switching to hydroxyurea and phlebotomy may have little or no effect on liver iron concentrations, mean difference -1.80 mg Fe/g dry-weight liver (95% confidence interval -5.16 to 1.56), low quality evidence. We are very uncertain whether switching to hydroxyurea and phlebotomy has any effect on: risk of stroke (no strokes); all-cause mortality (no deaths); transient ischaemic attacks, risk ratio 1.02 (95% confidence interval 0.21 to 4.84); or other sickle cell disease-related complications (acute chest syndrome, risk ratio 2.03 (95% confidence interval 0.39 to 10.69)), very low quality evidence. Secondary prevention, children and adolescents (one trial, 133 participants) Switching to hydroxyurea and phlebotomy may: increase the risk of sickle cell disease-related serious adverse events, risk ratio 3.10 (95% confidence interval 1.42 to 6.75); but have little or no effect on median liver iron concentrations (hydroxyurea, 17.3 mg Fe/g dry-weight liver (interquartile range 10.0 to 30.6)); transfusion 17.3 mg Fe/g dry-weight liver (interquartile range 8.8 to 30.7), low quality evidence. We are very uncertain whether switching to hydroxyurea and phlebotomy: increases the risk of stroke, risk ratio 14.78 (95% confidence interval 0.86 to 253.66); or has any effect on all-cause mortality, Peto odds ratio 0.98 (95% confidence interval 0.06 to 15.92); or transient ischaemic attacks, risk ratio 0.66 (95% confidence interval 0.25 to 1.74), very low quality evidence.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:

There is no evidence for managing adults, or children who do not have HbSS sickle cell disease. In children who are at higher risk of stroke and have not had previous long-term transfusions, there is moderate quality evidence that long-term red cell transfusions reduce the risk of stroke, and low quality evidence they also reduce the risk of other sickle cell disease-related complications. In primary and secondary prevention of stroke there is low quality evidence that switching to hydroxyurea with phlebotomy has little or no effect on the liver iron concentration. In secondary prevention of stroke there is low-quality evidence that switching to hydroxyurea with phlebotomy increases the risk of sickle cell disease-related events. All other evidence in this review is of very low quality.

Editor's Choice
  • Estcourt LJ
  • Kimber C
  • Trivella M
  • Doree C
  • Hopewell S
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020 Jul 2;7(7):CD003149 doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD003149.pub4.
POPULATION:

Patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) undergoing elective or emergency surgery (3 studies, n= 990).

INTERVENTION:

Aggressive transfusion regime prior to surgery.

COMPARISON:

Conservative transfusion regime or no transfusion prior to surgery.

OUTCOME:

There was no difference between the aggressive and the conservative transfusion regimens before surgery in preventing surgical or sickle‐related complications immediately after surgery. There was no difference in all‐cause mortality between patients receiving preoperative transfusions and those receiving no preoperative transfusions. There was significant heterogeneity between the two trials in the number of people developing an acute chest syndrome, however there was no difference between giving a blood transfusion before surgery compared to not giving a blood transfusion before surgery in preventing any other sickle‐related or surgical complications immediately after surgery.

BACKGROUND:

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is one of the commonest severe monogenic disorders in the world, due to the inheritance of two abnormal haemoglobin (beta globin) genes. SCD can cause severe pain, significant end-organ damage, pulmonary complications, and premature death. Surgical interventions are more common in people with SCD, and occur at much younger ages than in the general population. Blood transfusions are frequently used prior to surgery and several regimens are used but there is no consensus over the best method or the necessity of transfusion in specific surgical cases. This is an update of a Cochrane Review.

OBJECTIVES:

To determine whether there is evidence that preoperative blood transfusion in people with SCD undergoing elective or emergency surgery reduces mortality and perioperative or sickle cell-related serious adverse events. To compare the effectiveness of different transfusion regimens (aggressive or conservative) if preoperative transfusions are indicated in people with SCD.

SEARCH METHODS:

We searched for relevant trials in the Cochrane Library, MEDLINE (from 1946), Embase (from 1974), the Transfusion Evidence Library (from 1980), and ongoing trial databases; all searches current to 28 January 2020 We searched the Cochrane Cystic Fibrosis and Genetic Disorders Group Trials Register: 19 September 2019.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

All randomised controlled trials and quasi-randomised controlled trials comparing preoperative blood transfusion regimens to different regimens or no transfusion in people with SCD undergoing elective or emergency surgery. There was no restriction by outcomes examined, language or publication status.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

Two authors independently assessed trial eligibility and the risk of bias and extracted data.

MAIN RESULTS:

Three trials with 990 participants were eligible for inclusion in the review. There were no ongoing trials identified. These trials were conducted between 1988 and 2011. The majority of people included had haemoglobin (Hb) SS SCD. The majority of surgical procedures were considered low or intermediate risk for developing sickle cell-related complications. Aggressive versus simple red blood cell transfusions One trial (551 participants) compared an aggressive transfusion regimen (decreasing sickle haemoglobin to less than 30%) to a simple transfusion regimen (increasing haemoglobin to 100 g/L). This trial re-randomised participants and therefore quantitative analysis was only possible on two subsets of data: participants undergoing cholecystectomy (230 participants); and participants undergoing tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy surgeries (107 participants). Data were not combined as we do not know if any participant received both surgeries. Overall, the quality of the evidence was very low across different outcomes according to GRADE methodology. This was due to the trial being at high risk of bias primarily due to lack of blinding, indirectness and the outcome estimates being imprecise. Cholecystectomy subgroup results are reported in the abstract. Results for both subgroups were similar. There was no difference in all-cause mortality between people receiving aggressive transfusions and those receiving conservative transfusions. No deaths occurred in either subgroup. There were no differences between the aggressive transfusion group and conservative transfusion group in the number of people developing: • an acute chest syndrome, risk ratio (RR) 0.84 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.38 to 1.84) (one trial, 230 participants, very low-quality evidence); • vaso-occlusive crisis, risk ratio 0.30 (95% CI 0.09 to 1.04) (one trial, 230 participants, very low quality evidence); • serious infection, risk ratio 1.75 (95% CI 0.59 to 5.18) (one trial, 230 participants, very low-quality evidence); • any perioperative complications, RR 0.75 (95% CI 0.36 to 1.55) (one trial, 230 participants, very low-quality evidence); • a transfusion-related complication, RR 1.85 (95% CI 0.89 to 3.88) (one trial, 230 participants, very low-quality evidence). Preoperative transfusion versus no preoperative transfusion Two trials (434 participants) compared a preoperative transfusion plus standard care to a group receiving standard care. Overall, the quality of the evidence was low to very low across different outcomes according to GRADE methodology. This was due to the trials being at high risk of bias due to lack of blinding, and outcome estimates being imprecise. One trial was stopped early because more people in the no transfusion arm developed an acute chest syndrome. There was no difference in all-cause mortality between people receiving preoperative transfusions and those receiving no preoperative transfusions (two trials, 434 participants, no deaths occurred). There was significant heterogeneity between the two trials in the number of people developing an acute chest syndrome, a meta-analysis was therefore not performed. One trial showed a reduced number of people developing acute chest syndrome between people receiving preoperative transfusions and those receiving no preoperative transfusions, risk ratio 0.11 (95% confidence interval 0.01 to 0.80) (65 participants), whereas the other trial did not, RR 4.81 (95% CI 0.23 to 99.61) (369 participants). There were no differences between the preoperative transfusion groups and the groups without preoperative transfusion in the number of people developing: • a vaso-occlusive crisis, Peto odds ratio (OR) 1.91 (95% confidence interval 0.61 to 6.04) (two trials, 434 participants, very low-quality evidence). • a serious infection, Peto OR 1.29 (95% CI 0.29 to 5.71) (two trials, 434 participants, very low-quality evidence); • any perioperative complications, RR 0.24 (95% CI 0.03 to 2.05) (one trial, 65 participants, low-quality evidence). There was an increase in the number of people developing circulatory overload in those receiving preoperative transfusions compared to those not receiving preoperative transfusions in one of the two trials, and no events were seen in the other trial (no meta-analysis performed).

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:

There is insufficient evidence from randomised trials to determine whether conservative preoperative blood transfusion is as effective as aggressive preoperative blood transfusion in preventing sickle-related or surgery-related complications in people with HbSS disease. There is very low quality evidence that preoperative blood transfusion may prevent development of acute chest syndrome. Due to lack of evidence this review cannot comment on management for people with HbSC or HbSβ+ disease or for those with high baseline haemoglobin concentrations.

Editor's Choice
  • Estcourt LJ
  • Kimber C
  • Hopewell S
  • Trivella M
  • Doree C
  • et al.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020 Apr 6;4(4):CD012389 doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD012389.pub3.
POPULATION:

Children or adolescents with sickle cell disease (SCD), five trials (n=660).

INTERVENTION:

Long-term red blood cell transfusions.

COMPARISON:

Standard care or halting transfusions, or hydroxyurea and phlebotomy.

OUTCOME:

Long-term red blood cell transfusions may reduce the incidence of silent cerebral infarcts in children with abnormal transcranial doppler (TCD) velocities; but make little or no difference to the incidence of silent cerebral infarcts in children with previous silent cerebral infarcts on magnetic resonance imaging and normal or conditional TCDs. Long-term red blood cell transfusions may improve quality of life in children with previous silent cerebral infarcts, but may have no effect on cognitive function. Continuing red blood cell transfusions may reduce the incidence of silent cerebral infarcts. It is uncertain whether switching to hydroxyurea and phlebotomy has any effect on silent cerebral infarcts (no infarcts); all-cause mortality (no deaths); risk of stroke (no strokes); or SCD-related complications. For children and adolescents with a history of stroke it was uncertain whether switching to hydroxyurea and phlebotomy has any effect on silent cerebral infarcts all-cause mortality or clinical stroke. Switching to hydroxyurea and phlebotomy may increase the risk of SCD-related complications.

BACKGROUND:

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is one of the commonest severe monogenic disorders in the world, due to the inheritance of two abnormal haemoglobin (beta globin) genes. SCD can cause severe pain, significant end-organ damage, pulmonary complications, and premature death. Silent cerebral infarcts are the commonest neurological complication in children and probably adults with SCD. Silent cerebral infarcts also affect academic performance, increase cognitive deficits and may lower intelligence quotient.

OBJECTIVES:

To assess the effectiveness of interventions to reduce or prevent silent cerebral infarcts in people with SCD.

SEARCH METHODS:

We searched for relevant trials in the Cochrane Library, MEDLINE (from 1946), Embase (from 1974), the Transfusion Evidence Library (from 1980), and ongoing trial databases; all searches current to 14 November 2019. We searched the Cochrane Cystic Fibrosis and Genetic Disorders Group Trials Register: 07 October 2019.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

Randomised controlled trials comparing interventions to prevent silent cerebral infarcts in people with SCD. There were no restrictions by outcomes examined, language or publication status.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

We used standard Cochrane methodological procedures.

MAIN RESULTS:

We included five trials (660 children or adolescents) published between 1998 and 2016. Four of the five trials were terminated early. The vast majority of participants had the haemoglobin (Hb)SS form of SCD. One trial focused on preventing silent cerebral infarcts or stroke; three trials were for primary stroke prevention and one trial dealt with secondary stroke prevention. Three trials compared the use of regular long-term red blood cell transfusions to standard care. Two of these trials included children with no previous long-term transfusions: one in children with normal transcranial doppler (TCD) velocities; and one in children with abnormal TCD velocities. The third trial included children and adolescents on long-term transfusion. Two trials compared the drug hydroxyurea and phlebotomy to long-term transfusions and iron chelation therapy: one in primary prevention (children), and one in secondary prevention (children and adolescents). The quality of the evidence was moderate to very low across different outcomes according to GRADE methodology. This was due to trials being at high risk of bias because they were unblinded; indirectness (available evidence was only for children with HbSS); and imprecise outcome estimates. Long-term red blood cell transfusions versus standard care Children with no previous long-term transfusions and higher risk of stroke (abnormal TCD velocities or previous history of silent cerebral infarcts) Long-term red blood cell transfusions may reduce the incidence of silent cerebral infarcts in children with abnormal TCD velocities, risk ratio (RR) 0.11 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.02 to 0.86) (one trial, 124 participants, low-quality evidence); but make little or no difference to the incidence of silent cerebral infarcts in children with previous silent cerebral infarcts on magnetic resonance imaging and normal or conditional TCDs, RR 0.70 (95% CI 0.23 to 2.13) (one trial, 196 participants, low-quality evidence). No deaths were reported in either trial. Long-term red blood cell transfusions may reduce the incidence of: acute chest syndrome, RR 0.24 (95% CI 0.12 to 0.49) (two trials, 326 participants, low-quality evidence); and painful crisis, RR 0.63 (95% CI 0.42 to 0.95) (two trials, 326 participants, low-quality evidence); and probably reduces the incidence of clinical stroke, RR 0.12 (95% CI 0.03 to 0.49) (two trials, 326 participants, moderate-quality evidence). Long-term red blood cell transfusions may improve quality of life in children with previous silent cerebral infarcts (difference estimate -0.54; 95% confidence interval -0.92 to -0.17; one trial; 166 participants), but may have no effect on cognitive function (least squares means: 1.7, 95% CI -1.1 to 4.4) (one trial, 166 participants, low-quality evidence). Transfusions continued versus transfusions halted: children and adolescents with normalised TCD velocities (79 participants; one trial) Continuing red blood cell transfusions may reduce the incidence of silent cerebral infarcts, RR 0.29 (95% CI 0.09 to 0.97 (low-quality evidence). We are very uncertain whether continuing red blood cell transfusions has any effect on all-cause mortality, Peto odds ratio (OR) 8.00 (95% CI 0.16 to 404.12); or clinical stroke, RR 0.22 (95% CI 0.01 to 4.35) (very low-quality evidence). The trial did not report: comparative numbers for SCD-related adverse events; quality of life; or cognitive function. Hydroxyurea and phlebotomy versus transfusions and chelation Primary prevention, children (121 participants; one trial) We are very uncertain whether switching to hydroxyurea and phlebotomy has any effect on: silent cerebral infarcts (no infarcts); all-cause mortality (no deaths); risk of stroke (no strokes); or SCD-related complications, RR 1.52 (95% CI 0.58 to 4.02) (very low-quality evidence). Secondary prevention, children and adolescents with a history of stroke (133 participants; one trial) We are very uncertain whether switching to hydroxyurea and phlebotomy has any effect on: silent cerebral infarcts, Peto OR 7.28 (95% CI 0.14 to 366.91); all-cause mortality, Peto OR 1.02 (95%CI 0.06 to 16.41); or clinical stroke, RR 14.78 (95% CI 0.86 to 253.66) (very low-quality evidence). Switching to hydroxyurea and phlebotomy may increase the risk of SCD-related complications, RR 3.10 (95% CI 1.42 to 6.75) (low-quality evidence). Neither trial reported on quality of life or cognitive function.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:

We identified no trials for preventing silent cerebral infarcts in adults, or in children who do not have HbSS SCD. Long-term red blood cell transfusions may reduce the incidence of silent cerebral infarcts in children with abnormal TCD velocities, but may have little or no effect on children with normal TCD velocities. In children who are at higher risk of stroke and have not had previous long-term transfusions, long-term red blood cell transfusions probably reduce the risk of stroke, and other SCD-related complications (acute chest syndrome and painful crises). In children and adolescents at high risk of stroke whose TCD velocities have normalised, continuing red blood cell transfusions may reduce the risk of silent cerebral infarcts. No treatment duration threshold has been established for stopping transfusions. Switching to hydroxyurea with phlebotomy may increase the risk of silent cerebral infarcts and SCD-related serious adverse events in secondary stroke prevention. All other evidence in this review is of very low-quality.

  • Huber J
  • Stanworth SJ
  • Doree C
  • Fortin PM
  • Trivella M
  • et al.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2019 Nov 28;11(11):CD012745 doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD012745.pub2.
BACKGROUND:

In the absence of bleeding, plasma is commonly transfused to people prophylactically to prevent bleeding. In this context, it is transfused before operative or invasive procedures (such as liver biopsy or chest drainage tube insertion) in those considered at increased risk of bleeding, typically defined by abnormalities of laboratory tests of coagulation. As plasma contains procoagulant factors, plasma transfusion may reduce perioperative bleeding risk. This outcome has clinical importance given that perioperative bleeding and blood transfusion have been associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Plasma is expensive, and some countries have experienced issues with blood product shortages, donor pool reliability, and incomplete screening for transmissible infections. Thus, although the benefit of prophylactic plasma transfusion has not been well established, plasma transfusion does carry potentially life-threatening risks.

OBJECTIVES:

To determine the clinical effectiveness and safety of prophylactic plasma transfusion for people with coagulation test abnormalities (in the absence of inherited bleeding disorders or use of anticoagulant medication) requiring non-cardiac surgery or invasive procedures.

SEARCH METHODS:

We searched for randomised controlled trials (RCTs), without language or publication status restrictions in: Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL; 2017 Issue 7); Ovid MEDLINE (from 1946); Ovid Embase (from 1974); Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL; EBSCOHost) (from 1937); PubMed (e-publications and in-process citations ahead of print only); Transfusion Evidence Library (from 1950); Latin American Caribbean Health Sciences Literature (LILACS) (from 1982); Web of Science: Conference Proceedings Citation Index-Science (CPCI-S) (Thomson Reuters, from 1990); ClinicalTrials.gov; and World Health Organization (WHO) International Clinical Trials Registry Search Platform (ICTRP) to 28 January 2019.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

We included RCTs comparing: prophylactic plasma transfusion to placebo, intravenous fluid, or no intervention; prophylactic plasma transfusion to alternative pro-haemostatic agents; or different haemostatic thresholds for prophylactic plasma transfusion. We included participants of any age, and we excluded trials incorporating individuals with previous active bleeding, with inherited bleeding disorders, or taking anticoagulant medication before enrolment.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

We used standard methodological procedures expected by Cochrane.

MAIN RESULTS:

We included five trials in this review, all were conducted in high-income countries. Three additional trials are ongoing. One trial compared fresh frozen plasma (FFP) transfusion with no transfusion given. One trial compared FFP or platelet transfusion or both with neither FFP nor platelet transfusion given. One trial compared FFP transfusion with administration of alternative pro-haemostatic agents (factors II, IX, and X followed by VII). One trial compared the use of different transfusion triggers using the international normalised ratio measurement. One trial compared the use of a thromboelastographic-guided transfusion trigger using standard laboratory measurements of coagulation. Four trials enrolled only adults, whereas the fifth trial did not specify participant age. Four trials included only minor procedures that could be performed by the bedside. Only one trial included some participants undergoing major surgical operations. Two trials included only participants in intensive care. Two trials included only participants with liver disease. Three trials did not recruit sufficient participants to meet their pre-calculated sample size. Overall, the quality of evidence was low to very low across different outcomes according to GRADE methodology, due to risk of bias, indirectness, and imprecision. One trial was stopped after recruiting two participants, therefore this review's findings are based on the remaining four trials (234 participants). When plasma transfusion was compared with no transfusion given, we are very uncertain whether there was a difference in 30-day mortality (1 trial comparing FFP or platelet transfusion or both with neither FFP nor platelet transfusion, 72 participants; risk ratio (RR) 0.38, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.13 to 1.10; very low-quality evidence). We are very uncertain whether there was a difference in major bleeding within 24 hours (1 trial comparing FFP transfusion vs no transfusion, 76 participants; RR 0.33, 95% CI 0.01 to 7.93; very low-quality evidence; 1 trial comparing FFP or platelet transfusion or both with neither FFP nor platelet transfusion, 72 participants; RR 1.59, 95% CI 0.28 to 8.93; very low-quality evidence). We are very uncertain whether there was a difference in the number of blood product transfusions per person (1 trial, 76 participants; study authors reported no difference; very low-quality evidence) or in the number of people requiring transfusion (1 trial comparing FFP or platelet transfusion or both with neither FFP nor platelet transfusion, 72 participants; study authors reported no blood transfusion given; very low-quality evidence) or in the risk of transfusion-related adverse events (acute lung injury) (1 trial, 76 participants; study authors reported no difference; very low-quality evidence). When plasma transfusion was compared with other pro-haemostatic agents, we are very uncertain whether there was a difference in major bleeding (1 trial; 21 participants; no events; very low-quality evidence) or in transfusion-related adverse events (febrile or allergic reactions) (1 trial, 21 participants; RR 9.82, 95% CI 0.59 to 162.24; very low-quality evidence). When different triggers for FFP transfusion were compared, the number of people requiring transfusion may have been reduced (for overall blood products) when a thromboelastographic-guided transfusion trigger was compared with standard laboratory tests (1 trial, 60 participants; RR 0.18, 95% CI 0.08 to 0.39; low-quality evidence). We are very uncertain whether there was a difference in major bleeding (1 trial, 60 participants; RR 0.33, 95% CI 0.01 to 7.87; very low-quality evidence) or in transfusion-related adverse events (allergic reactions) (1 trial; 60 participants; RR 0.33, 95% CI 0.01 to 7.87; very low-quality evidence). Only one trial reported 30-day mortality. No trials reported procedure-related harmful events (excluding bleeding) or quality of life.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:

Review findings show uncertainty for the utility and safety of prophylactic FFP use. This is due to predominantly very low-quality evidence that is available for its use over a range of clinically important outcomes, together with lack of confidence in the wider applicability of study findings, given the paucity or absence of study data in settings such as major body cavity surgery, extensive soft tissue surgery, orthopaedic surgery, or neurosurgery. Therefore, from the limited RCT evidence, we can neither support nor oppose the use of prophylactic FFP in clinical practice.

  • Estcourt LJ
  • Hopewell S
  • Trivella M
  • Hambleton IR
  • Cho G
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2019 Oct 25;2019(10) doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD008360.pub5.
BACKGROUND:

Sickle cell disease is a genetic haemoglobin disorder, which can cause severe pain, significant end-organ damage, pulmonary complications, and premature death. Sickle cell disease is one of the most common severe monogenic disorders in the world, due to the inheritance of two abnormal haemoglobin (beta globin) genes. The two most common chronic chest complications due to sickle cell disease are pulmonary hypertension and chronic sickle lung disease. These complications can lead to morbidity (such as reduced exercise tolerance) and increased mortality. This is an update of a Cochrane Review first published in 2011 and updated in 2014 and 2016.

OBJECTIVES:

We wanted to determine whether trials involving people with sickle cell disease that compare regular long-term blood transfusion regimens with standard care, hydroxycarbamide (hydroxyurea) any other drug treatment show differences in the following: mortality associated with chronic chest complications; severity of established chronic chest complications; development and progression of chronic chest complications; serious adverse events.

SEARCH METHODS:

We searched the Cochrane Cystic Fibrosis and Genetic Disorders Group's Haemoglobinopathies Trials Register. Date of the last search: 19 September 2019. We also searched for randomised controlled trials in the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (the Cochrane Library, Issue 10, 14 November 2018), MEDLINE (from 1946), Embase (from 1974), CINAHL (from 1937), the Transfusion Evidence Library (from 1950), and ongoing trial databases to 14 November 2018.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

We included randomised controlled trials of people of any age with one of four common sickle cell disease genotypes, i.e. Hb SS, Sβº, SC, or Sβ+ that compared regular red blood cell transfusion regimens (either simple or exchange transfusions) to hydroxycarbamide, any other drug treatment, or to standard care that were aimed at reducing the development or progression of chronic chest complications (chronic sickle lung and pulmonary hypertension).

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

We used the standard methodological procedures expected by Cochrane.

MAIN RESULTS:

No studies matching the selection criteria were found.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:

There is a need for randomised controlled trials looking at the role of long-term transfusion therapy in pulmonary hypertension and chronic sickle lung disease. Due to the chronic nature of the conditions, such trials should aim to use a combination of objective and subjective measures to assess participants repeatedly before and after the intervention.

  • Estcourt LJ
  • Malouf R
  • Doree C
  • Trivella M
  • Hopewell S
  • et al.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018 Sep 17;9(9):CD012779 doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD012779.pub2.
BACKGROUND:

People with thrombocytopenia often require a surgical procedure. A low platelet count is a relative contraindication to surgery due to the risk of bleeding. Platelet transfusions are used in clinical practice to prevent and treat bleeding in people with thrombocytopenia. Current practice in many countries is to correct thrombocytopenia with platelet transfusions prior to surgery. Alternatives to platelet transfusion are also used prior surgery.

OBJECTIVES:

To determine the clinical effectiveness and safety of prophylactic platelet transfusions prior to surgery for people with a low platelet count.

SEARCH METHODS:

We searched the following major data bases: Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL; 2017, Issue 2), PubMed (e-publications only), Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid Embase, the Transfusion Evidence Library and ongoing trial databases to 11 December 2017.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

We included all randomised controlled trials (RCTs), as well as non-RCTs and controlled before-and-after studies (CBAs), that met Cochrane EPOC (Effective Practice and Organisation of Care) criteria, that involved the transfusion of platelets prior to surgery (any dose, at any time, single or multiple) in people with low platelet counts. We excluded studies on people with a low platelet count who were actively bleeding.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

We used standard methodological procedures expected by Cochrane for data collection. We were only able to combine data for two outcomes and we presented the rest of the findings in a narrative form.

MAIN RESULTS:

We identified five RCTs, all conducted in adults; there were no eligible non-randomised studies. Three completed trials enrolled 180 adults and two ongoing trials aim to include 627 participants. The completed trials were conducted between 2005 and 2009. The two ongoing trials are scheduled to complete recruitment by October 2019. One trial compared prophylactic platelet transfusions to no transfusion in people with thrombocytopenia in an intensive care unit (ICU). Two small trials, 108 participants, compared prophylactic platelet transfusions to other alternative treatments in people with liver disease. One trial compared desmopressin to fresh frozen plasma or one unit of platelet transfusion or both prior to surgery. The second trial compared platelet transfusion prior to surgery with two types of thrombopoietin mimetics: romiplostim and eltrombopag. None of the included trials were free from methodological bias. No included trials compared different platelet count thresholds for administering a prophylactic platelet transfusion prior to surgery. None of the included trials reported on all the review outcomes and the overall quality per reported outcome was very low.None of the three completed trials reported: all-cause mortality at 90 days post surgery; mortality secondary to bleeding, thromboembolism or infection; number of red cell or platelet transfusions per participant; length of hospital stay; or quality of life.None of the trials included children or people who needed major surgery or emergency surgical procedures.Platelet transfusion versus no platelet transfusion (1 trial, 72 participants)We were very uncertain whether giving a platelet transfusion prior to surgery had any effect on all-cause mortality within 30 days (1 trial, 72 participants; risk ratio (RR) 0.78, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.41 to 1.45; very-low quality evidence). We were very uncertain whether giving a platelet transfusion prior to surgery had any effect on the risk of major (1 trial, 64 participants; RR 1.60, 95% CI 0.29 to 8.92; very low-quality evidence), or minor bleeding (1 trial, 64 participants; RR 1.29, 95% CI 0.90 to 1.85; very-low quality evidence). No serious adverse events occurred in either study arm (1 trial, 72 participants, very low-quality evidence).Platelet transfusion versus alternative to platelet transfusion (2 trials, 108 participants)We were very uncertain whether giving a platelet transfusion prior to surgery compared to an alternative has any effect on the risk of major (2 trials, 108 participants; no events; very low-quality evidence), or minor bleeding (desmopressin: 1 trial, 36 participants; RR 0.89, 95% CI 0.06 to 13.23; very-low quality evidence: thrombopoietin mimetics: 1 trial, 65 participants; no events; very-low quality evidence). We were very uncertain whether there was a difference in transfusion-related adverse effects between the platelet transfused group and the alternative treatment group (desmopressin: 1 trial, 36 participants; RR 2.70, 95% CI 0.12 to 62.17; very-low quality evidence).

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:

Findings of this review were based on three small trials involving minor surgery in adults with thrombocytopenia. We found insufficient evidence to recommend the administration of preprocedure prophylactic platelet transfusions in this situation with a lack of evidence that transfusion resulted in a reduction in postoperative bleeding or all-cause mortality. The small number of trials meeting the inclusion criteria and the limitation in reported outcomes across the trials precluded meta-analysis for most outcomes. Further adequately powered trials, in people of all ages, of prophylactic platelet transfusions compared with no transfusion, other alternative treatments, and considering different platelet thresholds prior to planned and emergency surgical procedures are required. Future trials should include major surgery and report on bleeding, adverse effects, mortality (as a long-term outcome) after surgery, duration of hospital stay and quality of life measures.

Editor's Choice
  • Fortin PM
  • Hopewell S
  • Estcourt LJ
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018 Aug 1;8(8):CD012082 doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD012082.pub2.
POPULATION:

Children and adults with sickle cell disease (15 reviews).

INTERVENTION:

Red blood cell (RBC) transfusions. RBC transfusions plus standard care. Restrictive RBC transfusion strategy.

COMPARISON:

No RBC transfusions. Standard care. Disease-modifying drug therapy. Liberal RBC transfusion strategy.

OUTCOME:

In people undergoing low- to medium-risk surgery, RBC transfusions may decrease the risk of acute chest syndrome (ACS) in people with African haplotypes compared to standard care (low-quality evidence), but there was little or no difference in people with the Arabic haplotype (very-low quality evidence). In children and adolescents at high risk of stroke (abnormal transcranial doppler (TCD) velocities or silent cerebral infarct (SCI)), long-term RBC transfusions probably decrease the risk of stroke (moderate-quality evidence) and may decrease the risk of ACS and painful crisis compared to standard care (low-quality evidence). Long-term RBC transfusions may also decrease the risk of SCI in children with abnormal TCD velocities (low-quality evidence), but there may be little or no difference in the risk of SCI in children with normal TCD velocities and previous SCI (low-quality evidence). In children with normal TCD velocities and SCI there was little or no difference in the risk of alloimmunisation or transfusion reactions, but RBC transfusions may increase the risk of iron overload (low-quality evidence).

BACKGROUND:

Globally, sickle cell disease (SCD) is one of the commonest severe monogenic disorders, due to the inheritance of two abnormal haemoglobin (beta globin) genes. SCD can cause severe pain, significant end-organ damage, pulmonary complications, and premature death. Red blood cell (RBC) transfusions are used to treat complications of SCD, e.g. acute chest syndrome (ACS) (this often involves a single transfusion episode), or they can be part of a regular long-term transfusion programme to prevent SCD complications.

OBJECTIVES:

To summarize the evidence in Cochrane Reviews of the effectiveness and safety of RBC transfusions versus no transfusion, or restrictive (to increase the total haemoglobin) versus liberal (to decrease the haemoglobin S level below a specified percentage) transfusion, for treating or preventing complications experienced by people with SCD.

METHODS:

We included Cochrane Reviews of randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, that addressed various SCD complications and had RBC transfusion as an intervention or comparator. We assessed the methodological quality of included reviews according to the AMSTAR quality assessment.

MAIN RESULTS:

We included 15 Cochrane Reviews, 10 of which had no included studies with an RBC transfusion intervention (five reported RCTs with other interventions; and five contained no studies). Five of the 15 reviews included participants randomised to RBC transfusion, but in one of these reviews only 10 participants were randomised with no usable data. Four reviews (nine trials with 1502 participants) reported data comparing short- or long-term RBC transfusions versus standard care, disease-modifying agents, a restrictive versus a liberal transfusion strategy and long-term RBC transfusions versus transfusions to treat complications. All reviews were of high quality according to AMSTAR quality assessment, however, the quality of the included trials was highly variable across outcomes. Trials were downgraded according to GRADE methodology for risk of bias, indirectness (most trials were conducted in children with HbSS), and imprecision (outcomes had wide confidence intervals).In all four reviews and all comparisons there was little or no difference in the risk of death (very low-quality evidence). There were either no deaths or death was a rare event.Short-term RBC transfusion versus standard care (one review: two trials, 434 participants, GRADE very low- to low-quality evidence)In people undergoing low- to medium-risk surgery, RBC transfusions may decrease the risk of acute chest syndrome (ACS) in people with African haplotypes compared to standard care (low-quality evidence), but there was little or no difference in people with the Arabic haplotype (very-low quality evidence). There was also little or no difference in the risk of other SCD-related or transfusion-related complications (very-low quality evidence).Long-term RBC transfusion versus standard care (two reviews: three trials, 405 participants, very low- to moderate-quality evidence)In children and adolescents at high risk of stroke (abnormal transcranial doppler (TCD) velocities or silent cerebral infarct (SCI)), long-term RBC transfusions probably decrease the risk of stroke (moderate-quality evidence) and may decrease the risk of ACS and painful crisis compared to standard care (low-quality evidence). Long-term RBC transfusions may also decrease the risk of SCI in children with abnormal TCD velocities (low-quality evidence), but there may be little or no difference in the risk of SCI in children with normal TCD velocities and previous SCI (low-quality evidence).In children and adolescents already receiving long-term RBC transfusions for preventing stroke, in comparison to standard care, continuing long-term RBC transfusions may reduce the risk of SCI (low-quality evidence) but we do not know whether there is a difference in the risk of stroke (very-low quality evidence). In children with normal TCD velocities and SCI there was little or no difference in the risk of alloimmunisation or transfusion reactions, but RBC transfusions may increase the risk of iron overload (low-quality evidence).Long-term RBC transfusion versus RBC transfusion to treat complications (one review: one trial, 72 participants, very low- to low-quality evidence)In pregnant women, long-term RBC transfusions may decrease the risk of painful crisis compared to transfusion for complications (low-quality evidence); but there may be little or no difference in the risk of other SCD-related complications or transfusion reactions (very-low quality evidence).RBC transfusion versus disease-modifying agents (hydroxyurea) (two reviews: two trials; 254 participants, very low- to low-quality evidence)For primary prevention of stroke in children, with abnormal TCD and no severe vasculopathy on magnetic resonance imaging/magnetic resonance angiography (MRI/MRA), who have received at least one year of RBC transfusions, we do not know whether there is a difference between RBC transfusion and disease-modifying agents in the risk of stroke; SCI; ACS; or painful crisis (very-low quality evidence). There may be little or no difference in the risk of iron overload (low-quality evidence).Similarly, for secondary prevention of stroke in children and adolescents, we do not know whether there is a difference between these interventions in the risk of stroke; SCI; or ACS (very-low quality evidence); but hydroxyurea with phlebotomy may increase the risk of painful crisis and global SCD serious adverse events compared to RBC transfusion (low-quality evidence). There may be little or no difference in the risk of iron overload (low-quality evidence).Restrictive versus liberal RBC transfusion strategy (one review: one trial; 230 participants, very low-quality evidence)In people undergoing cholecystectomy, there was little or no difference between strategies in the risk of SCD-related or transfusion-related complications (very-low quality evidence).

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:

This overview provides support from two high-quality Cochrane Reviews for the use of RBC transfusions in preventing stroke in children and adolescents at high risk of stroke (abnormal TCDs or SCI) and evidence that it may decrease the risk of SCI in children with abnormal TCD velocities. In addition RBC transfusions may reduce the risk of ACS and painful crisis in this population.This overview highlights the lack of high-quality evidence in adults with SCD and the number of reviews that have no evidence for the use of RBC transfusions across a spectrum of SCD complications. Also of concern is the variable and often incomplete reporting of patient-relevant outcomes in the included trials such as SCD-related serious adverse events and quality of life.

  • Malouf R
  • Ashraf A
  • Hadjinicolaou AV
  • Doree C
  • Hopewell S
  • et al.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018 May 14;5(5):CD012342 doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD012342.pub2.

Xiangrong He, MD, PhD & Claudia S. Cohn, MD, PhD, both of University of Minnesota, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology.

WHAT IS KNOWN?

Thrombocytopenia represents a common problem for patients withchronic bone marrow failure disorders, the most common of which are myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and anaplastic anemia (AA). In addition to thrombocytopenia, both morphologic and functional platelet abnormalities may be seen in these patients as well. Platelet transfusion support is the primary management option for thrombocytopenia and active bleeding in these patients. Platelets are usually transfused prophylactically at counts less than 10 x 109/L and with higher counts in patients with hemorrhage. As compared with no prophylaxis, prophylactic platelet transfusions have been shown to be superior in reducing moderate to severe bleeding, primarily in people with leukemia. However, the evidence of prophylactic use for platelet transfusions in people with chronic bone marrow failure is lacking. Meanwhile, platelets are a precious resource and platelet transfusion carries many risks. Thus, avoiding unnecessary prophylactic platelet transfusions will have significant financial and safety implications for health services.

WHAT DID THIS PAPER SET OUT TO EXAMINE?

The authors set out to to review in thrombocytopenic patients with chronic bone marrow failure, whether prophylactic transfusions are really necessary or whether these patients can be effectively supported with only therapeutic platelet transfusions given with the onset of bleeding. In particular, they wanted to show that a therapeutic-only platelet transfusion strategy is as effective and safe as a prophylactic platelet transfusion strategy for the prevention of clinically significant bleeding in thrombocytopenic patients with primary bone marrow failure disorders.

WHAT DID THEY SHOW?

The review included all patients with MDS, acquired AA, or congenital bone marrow failure disorders that were not being actively treated with a stem cell transplant or intensive chemotherapy. To maximize the number of studies eligible for inclusion, not only randomized controlled trials (RCTs), but good quality non-RCTs, and controlled before-after studies were included. Only one trial met the inclusion criteria for this review. Unfortunately, the trial was incomplete due to an unexpected slow recruiting rate. Therefore, no results were provided by the trial authors. Although the review was unable to make any recommendations on prophylactic platelet transfusion policies for this patient population, it did identify an urgent need for good quality studies in this area.

WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE AND FOR FUTURE WORK?

Thrombocytopenia (platelet counts < 10 x 109/L) is one of the most common complications in patients with chronic bone marrow failure. For example, 40% to 65% of MDS patients have thrombocytopenia. Meanwhile, in some Western countries, bone marrow failure is one of the most common underlying reasons for receiving a prophylactic platelet transfusion. However, guidelines on a therapeutic platelet transfusion strategy versus a prophylactic platelet transfusion strategy in this population are still lacking. Due to the absence of relevant data, the current review was not able to reach any conclusions on the safety and efficacy of prophylactic platelet transfusion compared with therapeutic platelet transfusion for patients with chronic bone marrow failure. Nontheless, this review identified a major gap in the literature and underscored the urgency of prioritizing research in this area. In the meantime, platelet transfusions for people with bone marrow disorders should still be managed according to national transfusion guidelines.

BACKGROUND:

Bone marrow disorders encompass a group of diseases characterised by reduced production of red cells, white cells, and platelets, or defects in their function, or both. The most common bone marrow disorder is myelodysplastic syndrome. Thrombocytopenia, a low platelet count, commonly occurs in people with bone marrow failure. Platetet transfusions are routinely used in people with thrombocytopenia secondary to bone marrow failure disorders to treat or prevent bleeding. Myelodysplastic syndrome is currently the most common reason for receiving a platelet transfusion in some Western countries.

OBJECTIVES:

To determine whether a therapeutic-only platelet transfusion policy (transfusion given when patient is bleeding) is as effective and safe as a prophylactic platelet transfusion policy (transfusion given to prevent bleeding according to a prespecified platelet threshold) in people with congenital or acquired bone marrow failure disorders.

SEARCH METHODS:

We searched for randomised controlled trials (RCTs), non-RCTs, and controlled before-after studies (CBAs) in the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (the Cochrane Library 2017, Issue 9), Ovid MEDLINE (from 1946), Ovid Embase (from 1974), PubMed (e-publications only), the Transfusion Evidence Library (from 1950), and ongoing trial databases to 12 October 2017.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

We included RCTs, non-RCTs, and CBAs that involved the transfusion of platelet concentrates (prepared either from individual units of whole blood or by apheresis any dose, frequency, or transfusion trigger) and given to treat or prevent bleeding among people with congenital or acquired bone marrow failure disorders.We excluded uncontrolled studies, cross-sectional studies, and case-control studies. We excluded cluster-RCTs, non-randomised cluster trials, and CBAs with fewer than two intervention sites and two control sites due to the risk of confounding. We included all people with long-term bone marrow failure disorders that require platelet transfusions, including neonates. We excluded studies of alternatives to platelet transfusion, or studies of people receiving intensive chemotherapy or a stem cell transplant.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

We used the standard methodological procedures outlined by Cochrane. Due to the absence of evidence we were unable to report on any of the review outcomes.

MAIN RESULTS:

We identified one RCT that met the inclusion criteria for this review. The study enrolled only nine adults with MDS over a three-year study duration period. The trial was terminated due to poor recruitment rate (planned recruitment 60 participants over two years). Assessment of the risk of bias was not possible for all domains. The trial was a single-centre, single-blind trial. The clinical and demographic characteristics of the participants were never disclosed. The trial outcomes relevant to this review were bleeding assessments, mortality, quality of life, and length of hospital stay, but no data were available to report on any of these outcomes.We identified no completed non-RCTs or CBAs.We identified no ongoing RCTs, non-RCTs, or CBAs.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:

We found no evidence to determine the safety and efficacy of therapeutic platelet transfusion compared with prophylactic platelet transfusion for people with long-term bone marrow failure disorders. This review underscores the urgency of prioritising research in this area. People with bone marrow failure depend on long-term platelet transfusion support, but the only trial that assessed a therapeutic strategy was halted. There is a need for good-quality studies comparing a therapeutic platelet transfusion strategy with a prophylactic platelet transfusion strategy; such trials should include outcomes that are important to patients, such as quality of life, length of hospital admission, and risk of bleeding.

  • Fortin PM
  • Fisher SA
  • Madgwick KV
  • Trivella M
  • Hopewell S
  • et al.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018 May 8;5(5):CD012349 doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD012349.pub2.
BACKGROUND:

Regularly transfused people with sickle cell disease (SCD) and people with thalassaemia (who are transfusion-dependent or non-transfusion-dependent) are at risk of iron overload. Iron overload can lead to iron toxicity in vulnerable organs such as the heart, liver and endocrine glands; which can be prevented and treated with iron chelating agents. The intensive demands and uncomfortable side effects of therapy can have a negative impact on daily activities and well-being, which may affect adherence.

OBJECTIVES:

To identify and assess the effectiveness of interventions (psychological and psychosocial, educational, medication interventions, or multi-component interventions) to improve adherence to iron chelation therapy in people with SCD or thalassaemia.

SEARCH METHODS:

We searched CENTRAL (the Cochrane Library), MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection, Web of Science Science & Social Sciences Conference Proceedings Indexes and ongoing trial databases (01 February 2017). We searched the Cochrane Cystic Fibrosis and Genetic Disorders Group's Haemoglobinopathies Trials Register (12 December 2017).

SELECTION CRITERIA:

For trials comparing medications or medication changes, only randomised controlled trials (RCTs) were eligible for inclusion.For studies including psychological and psychosocial interventions, educational Interventions, or multi-component interventions, non-RCTs, controlled before-after studies, and interrupted time series studies with adherence as a primary outcome were also eligible for inclusion.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

Three authors independently assessed trial eligibility, risk of bias and extracted data. The quality of the evidence was assessed using GRADE.

MAIN RESULTS:

We included 16 RCTs (1525 participants) published between 1997 and 2017. Most participants had β-thalassaemia major; 195 had SCD and 88 had β-thalassaemia intermedia. Mean age ranged from 11 to 41 years. One trial was of medication management and 15 RCTs were of medication interventions. Medications assessed were subcutaneous deferoxamine, and two oral-chelating agents, deferiprone and deferasirox.We rated the quality of evidence as low to very low across all outcomes identified in this review.Three trials measured quality of life (QoL) with validated instruments, but provided no analysable data and reported no difference in QoL.Deferiprone versus deferoxamineWe are uncertain whether deferiprone increases adherence to iron chelation therapy (four trials, very low-quality evidence). Results could not be combined due to considerable heterogeneity (participants' age and different medication regimens). Medication adherence was high (deferiprone (85% to 94.9%); deferoxamine (71.6% to 93%)).We are uncertain whether deferiprone increases the risk of agranulocytosis, risk ratio (RR) 7.88 (99% confidence interval (CI) 0.18 to 352.39); or has any effect on all-cause mortality, RR 0.44 (95% CI 0.12 to 1.63) (one trial; 88 participants; very low-quality evidence).Deferasirox versus deferoxamineWe are uncertain whether deferasirox increases adherence to iron chelation therapy, mean difference (MD) -1.40 (95% CI -3.66 to 0.86) (one trial; 197 participants; very-low quality evidence). Medication adherence was high (deferasirox (99%); deferoxamine (100%)). We are uncertain whether deferasirox decreases the risk of thalassaemia-related serious adverse events (SAEs), RR 0.95 (95% CI 0.41 to 2.17); or all-cause mortality, RR 0.96 (95% CI 0.06 to 15.06) (two trials; 240 participants; very low-quality evidence).We are uncertain whether deferasirox decreases the risk of SCD-related pain crises, RR 1.05 (95% CI 0.68 to 1.62); or other SCD-related SAEs, RR 1.08 (95% CI 0.77 to 1.51) (one trial; 195 participants; very low-quality evidence).Deferasirox film-coated tablet (FCT) versus deferasirox dispersible tablet (DT)Deferasirox FCT may make little or no difference to adherence, RR 1.10 (95% CI 0.99 to 1.22) (one trial; 173 participants; low-quality evidence). Medication adherence was high (FCT (92.9%); DT (85.3%)).We are uncertain if deferasirox FCT increases the incidence of SAEs, RR 1.22 (95% CI 0.62 to 2.37); or all-cause mortality, RR 2.97 (95% CI 0.12 to 71.81) (one trial; 173 participants; very low-quality evidence).Deferiprone and deferoxamine combined versus deferiprone alone We are uncertain if deferiprone and deferoxamine combined increases adherence to iron chelation therapy (very low-quality evidence). Medication adherence was high (deferiprone 92.7% (range 37% to 100%) to 93.6% (range 56% to 100%); deferoxamine 70.6% (range 25% to 100%).Combination therapy may make little or no difference to the risk of SAEs, RR 0.15 (95% CI 0.01 to 2.81) (one trial; 213 participants; low-quality evidence).We are uncertain if combination therapy decreases all-cause mortality, RR 0.77 (95% CI 0.18 to 3.35) (two trials; 237 participants; very low-quality evidence).Deferiprone and deferoxamine combined versus deferoxamine aloneDeferiprone and deferoxamine combined may have little or no effect on adherence to iron chelation therapy (four trials; 216 participants; low-quality evidence). Medication adherence was high (deferoxamine 91.4% to 96.1%; deferiprone: 82.4%)Deferiprone and deferoxamine combined, may have little or no difference in SAEs or mortality (low-quality evidence). No SAEs occurred in three trials and were not reported in one trial. No deaths occurred in two trials and were not reported in two trials.Deferiprone and deferoxamine combined versus deferiprone and deferasirox combinedDeferiprone and deferasirox combined may improve adherence to iron chelation therapy, RR 0.84 (95% CI 0.72 to 0.99) (one trial; 96 participants; low-quality evidence). Medication adherence was high (deferiprone and deferoxamine: 80%; deferiprone and deferasirox: 95%).We are uncertain if deferiprone and deferasirox decreases the incidence of SAEs, RR 1.00 (95% CI 0.06 to 15.53) (one trial; 96 participants; very low-quality evidence).There were no deaths in the trial (low-quality evidence).Medication management versus standard careWe are uncertain if medication management improves health-related QoL (one trial; 48 participants; very low-quality evidence). Adherence was only measured in one arm of the trial.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:

The medication comparisons included in this review had higher than average adherence rates not accounted for by differences in medication administration or side effects.Participants may have been selected based on higher adherence to trial medications at baseline. Also, within the clinical trial context, there is increased attention and involvement of clinicians, thus high adherence rates may be an artefact of trial participation.Real-world, pragmatic trials in community and clinic settings are needed that examine both confirmed or unconfirmed adherence strategies that may increase adherence to iron chelation therapy.Due to lack of evidence this review cannot comment on intervention strategies for different age groups.

  • Estcourt LJ
  • Malouf R
  • Hopewell S
  • Doree C
  • Van Veen J
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018 Apr 30;4(4):CD011980 doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD011980.pub3.
BACKGROUND:

People with a low platelet count (thrombocytopenia) often require lumbar punctures or an epidural anaesthetic. Lumbar punctures can be diagnostic (haematological malignancies, subarachnoid haematoma, meningitis) or therapeutic (spinal anaesthetic, administration of chemotherapy). Epidural catheters are placed for administration of epidural anaesthetic. Current practice in many countries is to correct thrombocytopenia with platelet transfusions prior to lumbar punctures and epidural anaesthesia, in order to mitigate the risk of serious procedure-related bleeding. However, the platelet count threshold recommended prior to these procedures varies significantly from country to country. This indicates significant uncertainty among clinicians regarding the correct management of these patients. The risk of bleeding appears to be low, but if bleeding occurs it can be very serious (spinal haematoma). Consequently, people may be exposed to the risks of a platelet transfusion without any obvious clinical benefit.This is an update of a Cochrane Review first published in 2016.

OBJECTIVES:

To assess the effects of different platelet transfusion thresholds prior to a lumbar puncture or epidural anaesthesia in people with thrombocytopenia (low platelet count).

SEARCH METHODS:

We searched for randomised controlled trials (RCTs), non-randomised controlled trials (nRCTs), controlled before-after studies (CBAs), interrupted time series studies (ITSs), and cohort studies in CENTRAL (the Cochrane Library 2018, Issue 1), MEDLINE (from 1946), Embase (from 1974), the Transfusion Evidence Library (from 1950), and ongoing trial databases to 13 February 2018.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

We included RCTs, nRCTs, CBAs, ITSs, and cohort studies involving transfusions of platelet concentrates, prepared either from individual units of whole blood or by apheresis, and given to prevent bleeding in people of any age with thrombocytopenia requiring insertion of a lumbar puncture needle or epidural catheter.The original review only included RCTs.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

We used standard methodological procedures expected by Cochrane for including RCTs, nRCTs, CBAs, and ITSs. Two review authors independently assessed studies for eligibility and risk of bias and extracted data. Results were only expressed narratively.

MAIN RESULTS:

We identified no completed or ongoing RCTs, nRCTs, CBAs, or ITSs. No studies included people undergoing an epidural procedure. No studies compared different platelet count thresholds prior to a procedure.In this update we identified three retrospective cohort studies that contained participants who did and did not receive platelet transfusions prior to lumbar puncture procedures. All three studies were carried out in people with cancer, most of whom had a haematological malignancy. Two studies were in children, and one was in adults.The number of participants receiving platelet transfusions prior to the lumbar puncture procedures was not reported in one study. We therefore only summarised in a narrative form the relevant outcomes from two studies (150 participants; 129 children and 21 adults), in which the number of participants who received the transfusion was given.We judged the overall risk of bias for all reported outcomes for both studies as 'serious' based on the ROBINS-I tool.No procedure-related major bleeding occurred in the two studies that reported this outcome (2 studies, 150 participants, no cases, very low-quality evidence).There was no evidence of a difference in the risk of minor bleeding (traumatic tap) in participants who received platelet transfusions before a lumbar puncture and those who did not receive a platelet transfusion before the procedure (2 studies, 150 participants, very low-quality evidence). One of the 14 adults who received a platelet transfusion experienced minor bleeding (traumatic tap; defined as at least 500 x 106/L red blood cells in the cerebrospinal fluid); none of the seven adults who did not receive a platelet transfusion experienced this event. Ten children experienced minor bleeding (traumatic taps; defined as at least 100 x 106/L red blood cells in the cerebrospinal fluid), six out of the 57 children who received a platelet transfusion and four out of the 72 children who did not receive a platelet transfusion.No serious adverse events occurred in the one study that reported this outcome (1 study, 21 participants, very low-quality evidence).We found no studies that evaluated all-cause mortality within 30 days from the lumbar puncture procedure, length of hospital stay, proportion of participants who received platelet transfusions, or quality of life.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:

We found no evidence from RCTs or non-randomised studies on which to base an assessment of the correct platelet transfusion threshold prior to insertion of a lumbar puncture needle or epidural catheter. There are no ongoing registered RCTs assessing the effects of different platelet transfusion thresholds prior to the insertion of a lumbar puncture or epidural anaesthesia in people with thrombocytopenia. Any future study would need to be very large to detect a difference in the risk of bleeding. A study would need to be designed with at least 47,030 participants to be able to detect an increase in the number of people who had major procedure-related bleeding from 1 in 1000 to 2 in 1000. The use of a central data collection register or routinely collected electronic records (big data) is likely to be the only method to systematically gather data relevant to this population.