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Editor's Choice
  • Lewis SR
  • Pritchard MW
  • Estcourt LJ
  • Stanworth SJ
  • Griffin XL
  • et al.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2023 Jun 8;6(6):CD013737 doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD013737.pub2.
POPULATION:

Adults undergoing hip fracture surgery (26 systematic reviews, n= 3,923).

INTERVENTION:

Pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions to prevent or minimise blood loss, treat the effects of anaemia, and reduce the need for allogenic blood transfusions (ABT).

COMPARISON:

Between and within categories of intervention, standard of care or placebo.

OUTCOME:

17 reviews were found about tranexamic acid, 9 reviews about iron, and none for any other types of treatment. The three reviews providing the most relevant information were: A review about tranexamic acid including 24 studies with 2,148 people with a broken hip; a review about tranexamic acid including 10 studies with 1,123 people; and a review about iron including 2 studies with 403 people. The authors concluded that tranexamic acid probably reduces the need for ABT in adults undergoing hip fracture surgery, and there is probably little or no difference in adverse events. For iron, there may be little or no difference in overall clinical effects, but this finding is limited by evidence from only a few small studies. Reviews of these treatments did not adequately include patient-reported outcome measures, and evidence for their effectiveness remains incomplete.

BACKGROUND:

Following hip fracture, people sustain an acute blood loss caused by the injury and subsequent surgery. Because the majority of hip fractures occur in older adults, blood loss may be compounded by pre-existing anaemia. Allogenic blood transfusions (ABT) may be given before, during, and after surgery to correct chronic anaemia or acute blood loss. However, there is uncertainty about the benefit-risk ratio for ABT. This is a potentially scarce resource, with availability of blood products sometimes uncertain. Other strategies from Patient Blood Management may prevent or minimise blood loss and avoid administration of ABT.

OBJECTIVES:

To summarise the evidence from Cochrane Reviews and other systematic reviews of randomised or quasi-randomised trials evaluating the effects of pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions, administered perioperatively, on reducing blood loss, anaemia, and the need for ABT in adults undergoing hip fracture surgery.

METHODS:

In January 2022, we searched the Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, Embase, and five other databases for systematic reviews of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of interventions given to prevent or minimise blood loss, treat the effects of anaemia, and reduce the need for ABT, in adults undergoing hip fracture surgery. We searched for pharmacological interventions (fibrinogen, factor VIIa and factor XIII, desmopressin, antifibrinolytics, fibrin and non-fibrin sealants and glue, agents to reverse the effects of anticoagulants, erythropoiesis agents, iron, vitamin B12, and folate replacement therapy) and non-pharmacological interventions (surgical approaches to reduce or manage blood loss, intraoperative cell salvage and autologous blood transfusion, temperature management, and oxygen therapy). We used Cochrane methodology, and assessed the methodological quality of included reviews using AMSTAR 2. We assessed the degree of overlap of RCTs between reviews. Because overlap was very high, we used a hierarchical approach to select reviews from which to report data; we compared the findings of selected reviews with findings from the other reviews. Outcomes were: number of people requiring ABT, volume of transfused blood (measured as units of packed red blood cells (PRC)), postoperative delirium, adverse events, activities of daily living (ADL), health-related quality of life (HRQoL), and mortality.

MAIN RESULTS:

We found 26 systematic reviews including 36 RCTs (3923 participants), which only evaluated tranexamic acid and iron. We found no reviews of other pharmacological interventions or any non-pharmacological interventions. Tranexamic acid (17 reviews, 29 eligible RCTs) We selected reviews with the most recent search date, and which included data for the most outcomes. The methodological quality of these reviews was low. However, the findings were largely consistent across reviews. One review included 24 RCTs, with participants who had internal fixation or arthroplasty for different types of hip fracture. Tranexamic acid was given intravenously or topically during the perioperative period. In this review, based on a control group risk of 451 people per 1000, 194 fewer people per 1000 probably require ABT after receiving tranexamic acid (risk ratio (RR) 0.56, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.46 to 0.68; 21 studies, 2148 participants; moderate-certainty evidence). We downgraded the certainty for possible publication bias. Review authors found that there was probably little or no difference in the risks of adverse events, reported as deep vein thrombosis (RR 1.16, 95% CI 0.74 to 1.81; 22 studies), pulmonary embolism (RR 1.01, 95% CI 0.36 to 2.86; 9 studies), myocardial infarction (RR 1.00, 95% CI 0.23 to 4.33; 8 studies), cerebrovascular accident (RR 1.45, 95% CI 0.56 to 3.70; 8 studies), or death (RR 1.01, 95% CI 0.70 to 1.46; 10 studies). We judged evidence from these outcomes to be moderate certainty, downgraded for imprecision. Another review, with a similarly broad inclusion criteria, included 10 studies, and found that tranexamic acid probably reduces the volume of transfused PRC (0.53 fewer units, 95% CI 0.27 to 0.80; 7 studies, 813 participants; moderate-certainty evidence). We downgraded the certainty because of unexplained high levels of statistical heterogeneity. No reviews reported outcomes of postoperative delirium, ADL, or HRQoL. Iron (9 reviews, 7 eligible RCTs) Whilst all reviews included studies in hip fracture populations, most also included other surgical populations. The most current, direct evidence was reported in two RCTs, with 403 participants with hip fracture; iron was given intravenously, starting preoperatively. This review did not include evidence for iron with erythropoietin. The methodological quality of this review was low. In this review, there was low-certainty evidence from two studies (403 participants) that there may be little or no difference according to whether intravenous iron was given in: the number of people who required ABT (RR 0.90, 95% CI 0.73 to 1.11), the volume of transfused blood (MD -0.07 units of PRC, 95% CI -0.31 to 0.17), infection (RR 0.99, 95% CI 0.55 to 1.80), or mortality within 30 days (RR 1.06, 95% CI 0.53 to 2.13). There may be little or no difference in delirium (25 events in the iron group compared to 26 events in control group; 1 study, 303 participants; low-certainty evidence). We are very unsure whether there was any difference in HRQoL, since it was reported without an effect estimate. The findings were largely consistent across reviews. We downgraded the evidence for imprecision, because studies included few participants, and the wide CIs indicated possible benefit and harm. No reviews reported outcomes of cognitive dysfunction, ADL, or HRQoL.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:

Tranexamic acid probably reduces the need for ABT in adults undergoing hip fracture surgery, and there is probably little or no difference in adverse events. For iron, there may be little or no difference in overall clinical effects, but this finding is limited by evidence from only a few small studies. Reviews of these treatments did not adequately include patient-reported outcome measures (PROMS), and evidence for their effectiveness remains incomplete. We were unable to effectively explore the impact of timing and route of administration between reviews. A lack of systematic reviews for other types of pharmacological or any non-pharmacological interventions to reduce the need for ABT indicates a need for further evidence syntheses to explore this. Methodologically sound evidence syntheses should include PROMS within four months of surgery.

Editor's Choice
  • Carson JL
  • Stanworth SJ
  • Dennis JA
  • Trivella M
  • Roubinian N
  • et al.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2021 Dec 21;12(12):CD002042 doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD002042.pub5.
POPULATION:

Adults and children across a range of clinical contexts including surgery (48 studies, n= 21,433).

INTERVENTION:

Restrictive red blood cell (RBC) transfusion threshold strategy.

COMPARISON:

Liberal RBC transfusion threshold strategy.

OUTCOME:

Restrictive transfusion strategies reduced the risk of receiving at least one RBC transfusion by 41% across a broad range of clinical contexts (risk ratio (RR) 0.59, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.53 to 0.66; 42 studies, 20,057 participants; high-quality evidence), with a large amount of heterogeneity between trials (I² = 96%). Overall, restrictive transfusion strategies did not increase or decrease the risk of 30-day mortality compared with liberal transfusion strategies (RR 0.99, 95% CI 0.86 to 1.15; 31 studies, 16,729 participants; I² = 30%; moderate-quality evidence) or any of the other outcomes assessed (i.e. cardiac events (low-quality evidence), myocardial infarction, stroke, thromboembolism (all high-quality evidence)). High-quality evidence showed that the liberal transfusion threshold did not affect the risk of infection (pneumonia, wound infection, or bacteraemia). Transfusion-specific reactions were uncommon and were inconsistently reported within trials.

BACKGROUND:

The optimal haemoglobin threshold for use of red blood cell (RBC) transfusions in anaemic patients remains an active field of research. Blood is a scarce resource, and in some countries, transfusions are less safe than in others because of inadequate testing for viral pathogens. If a liberal transfusion policy does not improve clinical outcomes, or if it is equivalent, then adopting a more restrictive approach could be recognised as the standard of care.  OBJECTIVES: The aim of this review update was to compare 30-day mortality and other clinical outcomes for participants randomised to restrictive versus liberal red blood cell (RBC) transfusion thresholds (triggers) for all clinical conditions. The restrictive transfusion threshold uses a lower haemoglobin concentration as a threshold for transfusion (most commonly, 7.0 g/dL to 8.0 g/dL), and the liberal transfusion threshold uses a higher haemoglobin concentration as a threshold for transfusion (most commonly, 9.0 g/dL to 10.0 g/dL).

SEARCH METHODS:

We identified trials through updated searches: CENTRAL (2020, Issue 11), MEDLINE (1946 to November 2020), Embase (1974 to November 2020), Transfusion Evidence Library (1950 to November 2020), Web of Science Conference Proceedings Citation Index (1990 to November 2020), and trial registries (November 2020). We  checked the reference lists of other published reviews and relevant papers to identify additional trials. We were aware of one trial identified in earlier searching that was in the process of being published (in February 2021), and we were able to include it before this review was finalised.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

We included randomised trials of surgical or medical participants that recruited adults or children, or both. We excluded studies that focused on neonates. Eligible trials assigned intervention groups on the basis of different transfusion schedules or thresholds or 'triggers'. These thresholds would be defined by a haemoglobin (Hb) or haematocrit (Hct) concentration below which an RBC transfusion would be administered; the haemoglobin concentration remains the most commonly applied marker of the need for RBC transfusion in clinical practice. We included trials in which investigators had allocated participants to higher thresholds or more liberal transfusion strategies compared to more restrictive ones, which might include no transfusion. As in previous versions of this review, we did not exclude unregistered trials published after 2010 (as per the policy of the Cochrane Injuries Group, 2015), however, we did conduct analyses to consider the differential impact of results of trials for which prospective registration could not be confirmed.   DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: We identified trials for inclusion and extracted data using Cochrane methods. We pooled risk ratios of clinical outcomes across trials using a random-effects model. Two review authors independently extracted data and assessed risk of bias. We conducted predefined analyses by clinical subgroups. We defined participants randomly allocated to the lower transfusion threshold as being in the 'restrictive transfusion' group and those randomly allocated to the higher transfusion threshold as being in the 'liberal transfusion' group.

MAIN RESULTS:

A total of 48 trials, involving data from 21,433 participants (at baseline), across a range of clinical contexts (e.g. orthopaedic, cardiac, or vascular surgery; critical care; acute blood loss (including gastrointestinal bleeding); acute coronary syndrome; cancer; leukaemia; haematological malignancies), met the eligibility criteria. The haemoglobin concentration used to define the restrictive transfusion group in most trials (36) was between 7.0 g/dL and 8.0 g/dL.  Most trials included only adults; three trials focused on children. The included studies were generally at low risk of bias for key domains including allocation concealment and incomplete outcome data. Restrictive transfusion strategies reduced the risk of receiving at least one RBC transfusion by 41% across a broad range of clinical contexts (risk ratio (RR) 0.59, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.53 to 0.66; 42 studies, 20,057 participants; high-quality evidence), with a large amount of heterogeneity between trials (I² = 96%). Overall, restrictive transfusion strategies did not increase or decrease the risk of 30-day mortality compared with liberal transfusion strategies (RR 0.99, 95% CI 0.86 to 1.15; 31 studies, 16,729 participants; I² = 30%; moderate-quality evidence) or any of the other outcomes assessed (i.e. cardiac events (low-quality evidence), myocardial infarction, stroke, thromboembolism (all high-quality evidence)). High-quality evidence shows that the liberal transfusion threshold did not affect the risk of infection (pneumonia, wound infection, or bacteraemia). Transfusion-specific reactions are uncommon and were inconsistently reported within trials. We noted less certainty in the strength of evidence to support the safety of restrictive transfusion thresholds for the following predefined clinical subgroups: myocardial infarction, vascular surgery, haematological malignancies, and chronic bone-marrow disorders.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:

Transfusion at a restrictive haemoglobin concentration decreased the proportion of people exposed to RBC transfusion by 41% across a broad range of clinical contexts. Across all trials, no evidence suggests that a restrictive transfusion strategy impacted 30-day mortality, mortality at other time points, or morbidity (i.e. cardiac events, myocardial infarction, stroke, pneumonia, thromboembolism, infection) compared with a liberal transfusion strategy. Despite including 17 more randomised trials (and 8846 participants), data remain insufficient to inform the safety of transfusion policies in important and selected clinical contexts, such as myocardial infarction, chronic cardiovascular disease, neurological injury or traumatic brain injury, stroke, thrombocytopenia, and cancer or haematological malignancies, including chronic bone marrow failure.  Further work is needed to improve our understanding of outcomes other than mortality. Most trials compared only two separate thresholds for haemoglobin concentration, which may not identify the actual optimal threshold for transfusion in a particular patient. Haemoglobin concentration may not be the most informative marker of the need for transfusion in individual patients with different degrees of physiological adaptation to anaemia. Notwithstanding these issues, overall findings provide good evidence that transfusions with allogeneic RBCs can be avoided in most patients with haemoglobin thresholds between the range of 7.0 g/dL and 8.0 g/dL. Some patient subgroups might benefit from RBCs to maintain higher haemoglobin concentrations; research efforts should focus on these clinical contexts.

  • 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.

  • Fabes J
  • Brunskill SJ
  • Curry N
  • Doree C
  • Stanworth SJ
  • et al.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018 Dec 24;12(12):CD010649 doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD010649.pub2.
BACKGROUND:

Some hospital patients may be at risk of or may present with major bleeding. Abnormalities of clotting (coagulation) are often recorded in these people, and the traditional management has been with transfusions of blood components, either to prevent bleeding (prophylactic) or to treat bleeding (therapeutic). There is growing interest in the use of targeted therapies with specific pro-coagulant haemostatic (causing bleeding to stop and to keep blood within a damaged blood vessel) factor concentrates in place of plasma.

OBJECTIVES:

To assess the effects and safety of pro-coagulant haemostatic factors and factor concentrates in the prevention and treatment of bleeding in people without haemophilia.

SEARCH METHODS:

We searched for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (2018, issue 3), MEDLINE (from 1948), Embase (from 1974), CINAHL (from 1938), PubMed (publications in process to 18 April 2018), PROSPERO, Transfusion Evidence Library (from 1950), LILACS (from 1980), IndMED (from 1985), KoreaMed (from 1934), Web of Science Conference Proceedings Citation Index (from 1990) and ongoing trial databases to 18 April 2018.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

We included RCTs that compared intravenous administration of a pro-coagulant haemostatic factor concentrate, either with placebo, current best or standard treatment, or another pro-coagulant haemostatic factor concentrate for prevention or treatment of bleeding. There was no restriction on the types of participants. We excluded studies of desmopressin, tranexamic acid and aminocaproic acid and use of pro-coagulant haemostatic factors for vitamin K over-anticoagulation.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

We followed standard Cochrane methodological procedures.

MAIN RESULTS:

We identified 31 RCTs with 2392 participants and 22 ongoing trials. There were 13 therapeutic RCTs that randomised 1057 participants (range from 20 to 249 participants) and 18 prophylactic trials that randomised 1335 participants (range 20 to 479 participants). The pro-coagulant haemostatic factor concentrate was fibrinogen in 23 trials, Factor XIII in seven trials and pro-thrombin complex concentrates (PCC) in one trial.Seventeen trials had industrial funding or support, eight studies either did not declare their funding or were unclear about their source of funding and six studies declared non-industrial funding sources.Certainty in the evidence and included study biasOur certainty in the evidence, using GRADE criteria, ranged from very low to high across all outcomes. We assessed most outcomes as being of low certainty. Risks of bias were a concern in many of the RCTs; randomisation methodology was unclear in 15 RCTs, with allocation concealment unclear in 14 RCTs and at high risk of bias in five RCTs. The blinding status of outcome assessors was unclear in 13 RCTs and at high risk of bias in five RCTs, although most outcomes in these trials were objective and not prone to observer bias. Study personnel were often unblinded or insufficient information was available to assess their level of blinding (five RCTs were at unclear risk and seven at high risk of bias).Primary outcomesAll-cause mortality was reported by 21 RCTs, arterial thromboembolic events by 22 RCTs, and venous thromboembolic events by 21 RCTs.Fibrinogen concentrate: prophylactic trials with inactive comparator (nine RCTs)The trials had heterogeneous clinical settings and outcome time points, so we did not pool the data. Compared to placebo, there was no evidence that prophylactic fibrinogen concentrate reduced all-cause mortality (4 RCTs; 248 participants). Compared to inactive comparators there was low- to moderate-quality evidence that prophylactic fibrinogen concentrate did not increase the risk of arterial or venous thromboembolic complications (7 RCTs; 398 participants).Fibrinogen concentrate: prophylactic trials with active comparator (two RCTs)There was no mortality or incidence of thromboembolic events in these two RCTs (with 57 participants).Fibrinogen concentrate: therapeutic trials with inactive comparator (eight RCTs)The trials had heterogeneous surgical settings and outcome time points, so we pooled data for subgroups only. Compared to an inactive comparator, there was no evidence (quality ranging from low to high) that fibrinogen concentrate reduced all-cause mortality in actively bleeding participants (7 RCTs; 724 participants). Compared to inactive comparators there was no evidence that the use of fibrinogen concentrate in active bleeding increased arterial (7 RCTs; 607 participants) or venous (6 RCTs; 562 participants) thromboembolic events.Fibrinogen concentrate: therapeutic trials with active comparator (four RCTs)We did not pool the outcome data, as they were not measured at comparable time points. Compared to other active pro-coagulant agents, there was no evidence (very low to moderate quality) that fibrinogen concentrate reduced all-cause mortality in actively bleeding participants (4 RCTs; 220 participants). There was no evidence that fibrinogen concentrate increased the risk of arterial (3 RCTs; 126 participants) or venous (4 RCTs; 220 participants) thromboembolic events.FactorXIII: Prophylactic trials with inactive comparator (six trials)The trials were heterogeneous in their surgical settings and time points for outcome analysis, so we pooled data for subgroups only. Compared to an inactive comparator, there was no evidence that prophylactic Factor XIII reduced all-cause mortality (5 RCTs; 414 participants). There was no evidence (very low to low quality) of a difference in the arterial or venous event rate between Factor XIII and inactive comparators (4 trials; 354 participants).FactorXIII: therapeutic trials with inactive comparator (one trial)There was no mortality or incidence of thromboembolic events in this trial.Prothrombin complex concentrate (PCC): prophylactic trials with inactive comparator (one trial)There was no evidence (moderate quality) that PCC reduced all-cause mortality (1 trial; 78 participants). No thromboembolic complications were reported in this trial.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:

The paucity of good-quality comparable evidence precludes the drawing of conclusions for clinical practice. Further research is required to determine the risk-to-benefit ratio of these interventions. The sample sizes of future RCTs would need to be greatly increased to detect a reduction in mortality or thromboembolic events between treatment arms. To improve consistency in outcome reporting, the development of core outcome sets is essential and may help address a number of the limitations identified in this review.

  • Shah A
  • Brunskill SJ
  • Desborough MJ
  • Doree C
  • Trivella M
  • et al.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018 Dec 22;12(12):CD010801 doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD010801.pub3.
POPULATION:

Adults, children, and neonates requiring a red blood cell (RBC) transfusion (22 randomised controlled trials, n= 42,835).

INTERVENTION:

Transfusion of RBCs of shorter storage duration.

COMPARISON:

Transfusion of RBCs of longer storage duration; Standard practice storage duration.

OUTCOME:

Transfusion of RBCs of shorter vs. longer storage duration (11 trials, n= 2,249) probably led to little or no difference in mortality at seven-day follow-up (risk ratio (RR) 1.42, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.66 to 3.06; 1 trial, n= 3,098) or 30-day follow-up (RR 0.85, 95%CI 0.50 to 1.45; 2 trials, n= 1,121) in adults undergoing major elective cardiac or non-cardiac surgery. At 40 weeks gestational age, the effect on the risk of death was uncertain (RR 0.90, 95% CI 0.41 to 1.85; 1 trial, n= 52). The effect of RBCs of shorter vs. longer storage duration on the risk of death in children with severe anaemia was also uncertain within 24 hours of transfusion (RR 1.50, 95% CI 0.43 to 5.25; 2 trials, n= 364), or at 30-day follow-up (RR 1.40, 95% CI 0.45 to 4.31; 1 trial, n= 290). Only one trial, in children with severe anaemia (n= 290), reported adverse transfusion reactions. Only one child in each arm experienced an adverse reaction within 24 hours of transfusion. Transfusion of RBCs of shorter vs. standard practice storage duration (11 trials, n= 40,588) probably led to little or no difference in adult in-hospital mortality (RR 1.05, 95% CI 0.97 to 1.14; 4 trials, n= 25,704), ICU mortality (RR 1.06, 95% CI 0.98 to 1.15; 3 trials, n= 13,066), or 30-day mortality (RR 1.04, 95% CI 0.96 to 1.13; 4 trials, n= 7,510). Two of the three trials that enrolled neonates reported that there were no adverse transfusion reactions. One trial reported an isolated case of cytomegalovirus infection in participants assigned to the standard practice storage duration group. Two trials in critically ill adults reported data on transfusion reactions: one observed no difference in acute transfusion reactions between arms (RR 0.67, 95% CI 0.19 to 2.36, n= 2,413), but the other observed more febrile non-haemolytic reactions in the shorter storage duration arm (RR 1.48, 95% CI 1.13 to 1.95, n= 4,919). Trial sequential analysis showed that we may now have sufficient evidence to reject a 5% relative risk increase or decrease of death within 30 days when transfusing RBCs of shorter vs. longer storage duration across all patient groups.

BACKGROUND:

Red blood cell (RBC) transfusion is a common treatment for anaemia in many conditions. The safety and efficacy of transfusing RBC units that have been stored for different durations before a transfusion is a current concern. The duration of storage for a RBC unit can be up to 42 days. If evidence from randomised controlled trials (RCT) were to indicate that clinical outcomes are affected by storage duration, the implications for inventory management and clinical practice would be significant.

OBJECTIVES:

To assess the effects of using red blood cells (RBCs) stored for a shorter versus a longer duration, or versus RBCs stored for standard practice duration, in people requiring a RBC transfusion.

SEARCH METHODS:

We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, PubMed (for epublications), LILACS, Transfusion Evidence Library, Web of Science CPCI-S and four international clinical trial registries on 20 November 2017.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

We included RCTs that compared transfusion of RBCs of shorter versus longer storage duration, or versus standard practice storage duration.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

We used standard Cochrane methods.

MAIN RESULTS:

We included 22 trials (42,835 participants) in this review.The GRADE quality of evidence ranged from very low to moderate for our primary outcome of in-hospital and short-term mortality reported at different time points.Transfusion of RBCs of shorter versus longer storage duration Eleven trials (2249 participants) compared transfusion of RBCs of shorter versus longer storage duration. Two trials enrolled low birth weight neonates, two enrolled children with severe anaemia secondary to malaria or sickle cell disease, and eight enrolled adults across a range of clinical settings (intensive care, cardiac surgery, major elective surgery, hospitalised in-patients, haematology outpatients). We judged only two trials to be at low risk of bias across all domains; most trials had an unclear risk for multiple domains.Transfusion of RBCs of shorter versus longer storage duration probably leads to little or no difference in mortality at seven-day follow-up (risk ratio (RR) 1.42, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.66 to 3.06; 1 trial, 3098 participants; moderate quality evidence) or 30-day follow-up (RR 0.85, 95%CI 0.50 to 1.45; 2 trials, 1121 participants; moderate quality evidence) in adults undergoing major elective cardiac or non-cardiac surgery.For neonates, no studies reported on the primary outcome of in-hospital or short-term mortality. At 40 weeks gestational age, the effect of RBCs of shorter versus longer storage duration on the risk of death was uncertain, as the quality of evidence is very low (RR 0.90, 95% CI 0.41 to 1.85; 1 trial, 52 participants).The effect of RBCs of shorter versus longer storage duration on the risk of death in children with severe anaemia was also uncertain within 24 hours of transfusion (RR 1.50, 95% CI 0.43 to 5.25; 2 trials, 364 participants; very low quality evidence), or at 30-day follow-up (RR 1.40, 95% CI 0.45 to 4.31; 1 trial, 290 participants; low quality evidence).Only one trial, in children with severe anaemia (290 participants), reported adverse transfusion reactions. Only one child in each arm experienced an adverse reaction within 24 hours of transfusion.Transfusion of RBCs of shorter versus standard practice storage duration Eleven trials (40,588 participants) compared transfusion of RBCs of shorter versus standard practice storage duration. Three trials enrolled critically ill term neonates; two of these enrolled very low birth weight neonates. There were no trials in children. Eight trials enrolled critically ill and non-critically ill adults, with most being hospitalised. We judged four trials to be at low risk of bias across all domains with the others having an unclear risk of bias across multiple domains.Transfusion of RBCs of shorter versus standard practice storage duration probably leads to little or no difference in adult in-hospital mortality (RR 1.05, 95% CI 0.97 to 1.14; 4 trials, 25,704 participants; moderate quality evidence), ICU mortality (RR 1.06, 95% CI 0.98 to 1.15; 3 trials, 13,066 participants; moderate quality evidence), or 30-day mortality (RR 1.04, 95% CI 0.96 to 1.13; 4 trials, 7510 participants;moderate quality evidence).Two of the three trials that enrolled neonates reported that there were no adverse transfusion reactions. One trial reported an isolated case of cytomegalovirus infection in participants assigned to the standard practice storage duration group. Two trials in critically ill adults reported data on transfusion reactions: one observed no difference in acute transfusion reactions between arms (RR 0.67, 95% CI 0.19 to 2.36, 2413 participants), but the other observed more febrile nonhaemolytic reactions in the shorter storage duration arm (RR 1.48, 95% CI 1.13 to 1.95, 4919 participants).Trial sequential analysis showed that we may now have sufficient evidence to reject a 5% relative risk increase or decrease of death within 30 days when transfusing RBCs of shorter versus longer storage duration across all patient groups.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:

The effect of storage duration on clinically important outcomes has now been investigated in large, high quality RCTs, predominantly in adults. There appears to be no evidence of an effect on mortality that is related to length of storage of transfused RBCs. However, the quality of evidence in neonates and children is low. The current practice in blood banks of using the oldest available RBCs can be continued safely. Additional RCTs are not required, but research using alternative study designs, should focus on particular subgroups (e.g. those requiring multiple RBC units) and on factors affecting RBC quality.

  • Estcourt LJ
  • Desborough MJ
  • Doree C
  • Hopewell S
  • Stanworth SJ
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017 Sep 25;9(9):CD012497 doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD012497.pub2.
BACKGROUND:

The insertion of a lumbar puncture needle or epidural catheter may be associated with peri- and post-procedural bleeding. People who require this procedure may have disorders of coagulation as a result of their underlying illness, co-morbidities or the effects of treatment. Clinical practice in some institutions is to mitigate the risk of bleeding in these patients by prophylactically transfusing plasma in order to correct clotting factor deficiencies prior to the procedure. However, plasma transfusion is not without risk, and it remains unclear whether this intervention is associated with reduced rates of bleeding or other clinically-meaningful outcomes.

OBJECTIVES:

To assess the effect of different prophylactic plasma transfusion regimens prior to insertion of a lumbar puncture needle or epidural catheter in people with abnormal coagulation.

SEARCH METHODS:

We searched for randomised controlled trials (RCTs), non-randomised controlled trials (non-RCT) and controlled before-after studies (CBAs) in CENTRAL (the Cochrane Library 2016, Issue 11), MEDLINE (from 1946), Embase (from 1974), CINAHL (from 1937), the Transfusion Evidence Library (from 1950), and five other electronic databases as well as ClinicalTrials.gov and World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) for ongoing trials to 9 January 2017.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

We planned to include RCTs, non-RCTs, and CBAs involving transfusions of plasma given to prevent bleeding in people of any age with a coagulopathy requiring insertion of a lumbar puncture needle or epidural catheter. If identified, we would have excluded uncontrolled studies, cross-sectional studies and case-control studies. We would only have included cluster-RCTs, non-randomised cluster trials, and CBAs with at least two intervention sites and two control sites. In studies with only one intervention or control site, the intervention (or comparison) is completely confounded by study site making it difficult to attribute any observed differences to the intervention rather than to other site-specific variables.We planned to exclude people with haemophilia as they should be treated with the appropriate factor concentrate. We also planned to exclude people on warfarin as guidelines recommend the use of prothrombin complex concentrate for emergency reversal of warfarin.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

We used standard methodological procedures expected by Cochrane.

MAIN RESULTS:

We identified no completed or ongoing RCTs, non-RCTs, or CBAs.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:

There is no evidence from RCTs, non-RCTs, and CBAs to determine whether plasma transfusions are required prior to insertion of a lumbar puncture needle or epidural catheter, and, if plasma transfusions are required, what is the degree of coagulopathy at which they should be given. We would need to design a study with at least 47,030 participants to be able to detect an increase in the number of people who had bleeding after lumbar puncture or epidural anaesthetic from 1 in 1000 to 2 in 1000.

  • Estcourt LJ
  • Malouf R
  • Hopewell S
  • Trivella M
  • Doree C
  • et al.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017 Jul 30;7(7):CD009072 doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD009072.pub3.
BACKGROUND:

Platelet transfusions are used to prevent and treat bleeding in people who are thrombocytopenic. Despite improvements in donor screening and laboratory testing, a small risk of viral, bacterial, or protozoal contamination of platelets remains. There is also an ongoing risk from newly emerging blood transfusion-transmitted infections for which laboratory tests may not be available at the time of initial outbreak.One solution to reduce the risk of blood transfusion-transmitted infections from platelet transfusion is photochemical pathogen reduction, in which pathogens are either inactivated or significantly depleted in number, thereby reducing the chance of transmission. This process might offer additional benefits, including platelet shelf-life extension, and negate the requirement for gamma-irradiation of platelets. Although current pathogen-reduction technologies have been proven to reduce pathogen load in platelet concentrates, a number of published clinical studies have raised concerns about the effectiveness of pathogen-reduced platelets for post-transfusion platelet count recovery and the prevention of bleeding when compared with standard platelets.This is an update of a Cochrane review first published in 2013.

OBJECTIVES:

To assess the effectiveness of pathogen-reduced platelets for the prevention of bleeding in people of any age requiring platelet transfusions.

SEARCH METHODS:

We searched for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (the Cochrane Library 2016, Issue 9), MEDLINE (from 1946), Embase (from 1974), CINAHL (from 1937), the Transfusion Evidence Library (from 1950), and ongoing trial databases to 24 October 2016.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

We included RCTs comparing the transfusion of pathogen-reduced platelets with standard platelets, or comparing different types of pathogen-reduced platelets.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

We used the standard methodological procedures expected by Cochrane.

MAIN RESULTS:

We identified five new trials in this update of the review. A total of 15 trials were eligible for inclusion in this review, 12 completed trials (2075 participants) and three ongoing trials. Ten of the 12 completed trials were included in the original review. We did not identify any RCTs comparing the transfusion of one type of pathogen-reduced platelets with another.Nine trials compared Intercept® pathogen-reduced platelets to standard platelets, two trials compared Mirasol® pathogen-reduced platelets to standard platelets; and one trial compared both pathogen-reduced platelets types to standard platelets. Three RCTs were randomised cross-over trials, and nine were parallel-group trials. Of the 2075 participants enrolled in the trials, 1981 participants received at least one platelet transfusion (1662 participants in Intercept® platelet trials and 319 in Mirasol® platelet trials).One trial included children requiring cardiac surgery (16 participants) or adults requiring a liver transplant (28 participants). All of the other participants were thrombocytopenic individuals who had a haematological or oncological diagnosis. Eight trials included only adults.Four of the included studies were at low risk of bias in every domain, while the remaining eight included studies had some threats to validity.Overall, the quality of the evidence was low to high across different outcomes according to GRADE methodology.We are very uncertain as to whether pathogen-reduced platelets increase the risk of any bleeding (World Health Organization (WHO) Grade 1 to 4) (5 trials, 1085 participants; fixed-effect risk ratio (RR) 1.09, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.02 to 1.15; I2 = 59%, random-effect RR 1.14, 95% CI 0.93 to 1.38; I2 = 59%; low-quality evidence).There was no evidence of a difference between pathogen-reduced platelets and standard platelets in the incidence of clinically significant bleeding complications (WHO Grade 2 or higher) (5 trials, 1392 participants; RR 1.10, 95% CI 0.97 to 1.25; I2 = 0%; moderate-quality evidence), and there is probably no difference in the risk of developing severe bleeding (WHO Grade 3 or higher) (6 trials, 1495 participants; RR 1.24, 95% CI 0.76 to 2.02; I2 = 32%; moderate-quality evidence).There is probably no difference between pathogen-reduced platelets and standard platelets in the incidence of all-cause mortality at 4 to 12 weeks (6 trials, 1509 participants; RR 0.81, 95% CI 0.50 to 1.29; I2 = 26%; moderate-quality evidence).There is probably no difference between pathogen-reduced platelets and standard platelets in the incidence of serious adverse events (7 trials, 1340 participants; RR 1.09, 95% CI 0.88 to 1.35; I2 = 0%; moderate-quality evidence). However, no bacterial transfusion-transmitted infections occurred in the six trials that reported this outcome.Participants who received pathogen-reduced platelet transfusions had an increased risk of developing platelet refractoriness (7 trials, 1525 participants; RR 2.94, 95% CI 2.08 to 4.16; I2 = 0%; high-quality evidence), though the definition of platelet refractoriness differed between trials.Participants who received pathogen-reduced platelet transfusions required more platelet transfusions (6 trials, 1509 participants; mean difference (MD) 1.23, 95% CI 0.86 to 1.61; I2 = 27%; high-quality evidence), and there was probably a shorter time interval between transfusions (6 trials, 1489 participants; MD -0.42, 95% CI -0.53 to -0.32; I2 = 29%; moderate-quality evidence). Participants who received pathogen-reduced platelet transfusions had a lower 24-hour corrected-count increment (7 trials, 1681 participants; MD -3.02, 95% CI -3.57 to -2.48; I2 = 15%; high-quality evidence).None of the studies reported quality of life.We did not evaluate any economic outcomes.There was evidence of subgroup differences in multiple transfusion trials between the two pathogen-reduced platelet technologies assessed in this review (Intercept® and Mirasol®) for all-cause mortality and the interval between platelet transfusions (favouring Intercept®).

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:

Findings from this review were based on 12 trials, and of the 1981 participants who received a platelet transfusion only 44 did not have a haematological or oncological diagnosis.In people with haematological or oncological disorders who are thrombocytopenic due to their disease or its treatment, we found high-quality evidence that pathogen-reduced platelet transfusions increase the risk of platelet refractoriness and the platelet transfusion requirement. We found moderate-quality evidence that pathogen-reduced platelet transfusions do not affect all-cause mortality, the risk of clinically significant or severe bleeding, or the risk of a serious adverse event. There was insufficient evidence for people with other diagnoses.All three ongoing trials are in adults (planned recruitment 1375 participants) with a haematological or oncological diagnosis.

  • Desborough MJ
  • Oakland K
  • Brierley C
  • Bennett S
  • Doree C
  • et al.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017 Jul 10;7(7):CD001884 doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD001884.pub3.
BACKGROUND:

Blood transfusion is administered during many types of surgery, but its efficacy and safety are increasingly questioned. Evaluation of the efficacy of agents, such as desmopressin (DDAVP; 1-deamino-8-D-arginine-vasopressin), that may reduce perioperative blood loss is needed.

OBJECTIVES:

To examine the evidence for the efficacy of DDAVP in reducing perioperative blood loss and the need for red cell transfusion in people who do not have inherited bleeding disorders.

SEARCH METHODS:

We searched for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (2017, issue 3) in the Cochrane Library, MEDLINE (from 1946), Embase (from 1974), the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) (from 1937), the Transfusion Evidence Library (from 1980), and ongoing trial databases (all searches to 3 April 2017).

SELECTION CRITERIA:

We included randomised controlled trials comparing DDAVP to placebo or an active comparator (e.g. tranexamic acid, aprotinin) before, during, or immediately after surgery or after invasive procedures in adults or children.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

We used the standard methodological procedures expected by Cochrane.

MAIN RESULTS:

We identified 65 completed trials (3874 participants) and four ongoing trials. Of the 65 completed trials, 39 focused on adult cardiac surgery, three on paediatric cardiac surgery, 12 on orthopaedic surgery, two on plastic surgery, and two on vascular surgery; seven studies were conducted in surgery for other conditions. These trials were conducted between 1986 and 2016, and 11 were funded by pharmaceutical companies or by a party with a commercial interest in the outcome of the trial.The GRADE quality of evidence was very low to moderate across all outcomes. No trial reported quality of life. DDAVP versus placebo or no treatmentTrial results showed considerable heterogeneity between surgical settings for total volume of red cells transfused (low-quality evidence) and for total blood loss (very low-quality evidence) due to large differences in baseline blood loss. Consequently, these outcomes were not pooled and were reported in subgroups.Compared with placebo, DDAVP may slightly decrease the total volume of red cells transfused in adult cardiac surgery (mean difference (MD) -0.52 units, 95% confidence interval (CI) -0.96 to -0.08 units; 14 trials, 957 participants), but may lead to little or no difference in orthopaedic surgery (MD -0.02, 95% CI -0.67 to 0.64 units; 6 trials, 303 participants), vascular surgery (MD 0.06, 95% CI -0.60 to 0.73 units; 2 trials, 135 participants), or hepatic surgery (MD -0.47, 95% CI -1.27 to 0.33 units; 1 trial, 59 participants).DDAVP probably leads to little or no difference in the total number of participants transfused with blood (risk ratio (RR) 0.96, 95% CI 0.86 to 1.06; 25 trials; 1806 participants) (moderate-quality evidence).Whether DDAVP decreases total blood loss in adult cardiac surgery (MD -135.24 mL, 95% CI -210.80 mL to -59.68 mL; 22 trials, 1358 participants), orthopaedic surgery (MD -285.76 mL, 95% CI -514.99 mL to -56.53 mL; 5 trials, 241 participants), or vascular surgery (MD -582.00 mL, 95% CI -1264.07 mL to 100.07 mL; 1 trial, 44 participants) is uncertain because the quality of evidence is very low.DDAVP probably leads to little or no difference in all-cause mortality (Peto odds ratio (pOR) 1.09, 95% CI 0.51 to 2.34; 22 trials, 1631 participants) or in thrombotic events (pOR 1.36, 95% CI, 0.85 to 2.16; 29 trials, 1984 participants) (both low-quality evidence). DDAVP versus placebo or no treatment for people with platelet dysfunctionCompared with placebo, DDAVP may lead to a reduction in the total volume of red cells transfused (MD -0.65 units, 95% CI -1.16 to -0.13 units; 6 trials, 388 participants) (low-quality evidence) and in total blood loss (MD -253.93 mL, 95% CI -408.01 mL to -99.85 mL; 7 trials, 422 participants) (low-quality evidence).DDAVP probably leads to little or no difference in the total number of participants receiving a red cell transfusion (RR 0.83, 95% CI 0.66 to 1.04; 5 trials, 258 participants) (moderate-quality evidence).Whether DDAVP leads to a difference in all-cause mortality (pOR 0.72, 95% CI 0.12 to 4.22; 7 trials; 422 participants) or in thrombotic events (pOR 1.58, 95% CI 0.60 to 4.17; 7 trials, 422 participants) is uncertain because the quality of evidence is very low. DDAVP versus tranexamic acidCompared with tranexamic acid, DDAVP may increase the volume of blood transfused (MD 0.6 units, 95% CI 0.09 to 1.11 units; 1 trial, 40 participants) and total blood loss (MD 142.81 mL, 95% CI 79.78 mL to 205.84 mL; 2 trials, 115 participants) (both low-quality evidence).Whether DDAVP increases or decreases the total number of participants transfused with blood is uncertain because the quality of evidence is very low (RR 2.42, 95% CI 1.04 to 5.64; 3 trials, 135 participants).No trial reported all-cause mortality.Whether DDAVP leads to a difference in thrombotic events is uncertain because the quality of evidence is very low (pOR 2.92, 95% CI 0.32 to 26.83; 2 trials, 115 participants). DDAVP versus aprotininCompared with aprotinin, DDAVP probably increases the total number of participants transfused with blood (RR 2.41, 95% CI 1.45 to 4.02; 1 trial, 99 participants) (moderate-quality evidence).No trials reported volume of blood transfused or total blood loss and the single trial that included mortality as an outcome reported no deaths.Whether DDAVP leads to a difference in thrombotic events is uncertain because the quality of evidence is very low (pOR 0.98, 95% CI 0.06 to 15.89; 2 trials, 152 participants).

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:

Most of the evidence derived by comparing DDAVP versus placebo was obtained in cardiac surgery, where DDAVP was administered after cardiopulmonary bypass. In adults undergoing cardiac surgery, the reduction in volume of red cells transfused and total blood loss was small and was unlikely to be clinically important. It is less clear whether DDAVP may be of benefit for children and for those undergoing non-cardiac surgery. A key area for researchers is examining the effects of DDAVP for people with platelet dysfunction. Few trials have compared DDAVP versus tranexamic acid or aprotinin; consequently, we are uncertain of the relative efficacy of these interventions.

  • Keir A
  • Pal S
  • Trivella M
  • Lieberman L
  • Callum J
  • et al.
Transfusion. 2016 Nov;56(11):2773-2780 doi: 10.1111/trf.13785.
BACKGROUND:

Controversy exists regarding the contribution of blood transfusions to a range of adverse clinical outcomes in neonates. The aim of our systematic review was to identify the broader literature on harmful effects and associations potentially attributable to red blood cell (RBC) transfusions.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS:

A comprehensive search of MEDLINE (PubMed) and EMBASE was undertaken. Eligible studies included both randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and nonrandomized studies examining the effects of small volume (10-20 mL/kg) RBC transfusions on neonates. Primary outcomes of interest were mortality, chronic lung disease, retinopathy of prematurity, necrotizing enterocolitis, and intraventricular hemorrhage. Two independent authors conducted a review of abstracts and then of full-text article reviews as well as data extraction and quality assessments.

RESULTS:

Sixty-one studies were eligible for inclusion, including 16 (26%) randomized studies. The majority of studies were nonrandomized (n = 45; 74%), which included 32 observational studies with and 13 studies without a comparator group. There was no evidence that rates of mortality differed between restrictive and liberal strategies for transfusion (eight RCTs: risk ratio, 1.24; 95% confidence interval, 0.89-1.672, heterogeneity = 0%) or for necrotizing enterocolitis (five RCTs: risk ratio, 1.45; 95% confidence interval, 0.91-2.33; heterogeneity = 0%). A liberal strategy also was not superior to restrictive transfusion practice in the pooled randomized studies for rates of retinopathy of prematurity, chronic lung disease, or intraventricular hemorrhage.

CONCLUSIONS:

Statistically significant differences in a range of harmful outcomes between neonates exposed to restrictive and liberal RBC transfusion practice were not found. However, the risks of bias identified in many studies and the lack of consistent reporting and definitions of events limits our conclusions.

  • Desborough M
  • Hadjinicolaou AV
  • Chaimani A
  • Trivella M
  • Vyas P
  • et al.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Oct 31;10(10):CD012055 doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD012055.pub2.
BACKGROUND:

People with thrombocytopenia due to bone marrow failure are vulnerable to bleeding. Platelet transfusions have limited efficacy in this setting and alternative agents that could replace, or reduce platelet transfusion, and are effective at reducing bleeding are needed.

OBJECTIVES:

To compare the relative efficacy of different interventions for patients with thrombocytopenia due to chronic bone marrow failure and to derive a hierarchy of potential alternative treatments to platelet transfusions.

SEARCH METHODS:

We searched for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (the Cochrane Library 2016, Issue 3), MEDLINE (from 1946), Embase (from 1974), CINAHL (from 1937), the Transfusion Evidence Library (from 1980) and ongoing trial databases to 27 April 2016.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

We included randomised controlled trials in people with thrombocytopenia due to chronic bone marrow failure who were allocated to either an alternative to platelet transfusion (artificial platelet substitutes, platelet-poor plasma, fibrinogen concentrate, recombinant activated factor VII (rFVIIa), desmopressin (DDAVP), recombinant factor XIII (rFXIII), recombinant interleukin (rIL)6 or rIL11, or thrombopoietin (TPO) mimetics) or a comparator (placebo, standard of care or platelet transfusion). We excluded people undergoing intensive chemotherapy or stem cell transfusion.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

Two review authors independently screened search results, extracted data and assessed trial quality. We estimated summary risk ratios (RR) for dichotomous outcomes. We planned to use summary mean differences (MD) for continuous outcomes. All summary measures are presented with 95% confidence intervals (CI).We could not perform a network meta-analysis because the included studies had important differences in the baseline severity of disease for the participants and in the number of participants undergoing chemotherapy. This raised important concerns about the plausibility of the transitivity assumption in the final dataset and we could not evaluate transitivity statistically because of the small number of trials per comparison. Therefore, we could only perform direct pairwise meta-analyses of included interventions.We employed a random-effects model for all analyses. We assessed statistical heterogeneity using the I2 statistic and its 95% CI. The risk of bias of each study included was assessed using the Cochrane 'Risk of bias' tool. The quality of the evidence was assessed using GRADE methods.

MAIN RESULTS:

We identified seven completed trials (472 participants), and four ongoing trials (recruiting 837 participants) which are due to be completed by December 2020. Of the seven completed trials, five trials (456 participants) compared a TPO mimetic versus placebo (four romiplostim trials, and one eltrombopag trial), one trial (eight participants) compared DDAVP with placebo and one trial (eight participants) compared tranexamic acid with placebo. In the DDAVP trial, the only outcome reported was the bleeding time. In the tranexamic acid trial there were methodological flaws and bleeding definitions were subject to significant bias. Consequently, these trials could not be incorporated into the quantitative synthesis. No randomised trial of artificial platelet substitutes, platelet-poor plasma, fibrinogen concentrate, rFVIIa, rFXIII, rIL6 or rIL11 was identified.We assessed all five trials of TPO mimetics included in this review to be at high risk of bias because the trials were funded by the manufacturers of the TPO mimetics and the authors had financial stakes in the sponsoring companies.The GRADE quality of the evidence was very low to moderate across the different outcomes.There was insufficient evidence to detect a difference in the number of participants with at least one bleeding episode between TPO mimetics and placebo (RR 0.86, 95% CI 0.56 to 1.31, four trials, 206 participants, low-quality evidence).There was insufficient evidence to detect a difference in the risk of a life-threatening bleed between those treated with a TPO mimetic and placebo (RR 0.31, 95% CI 0.04 to 2.26, one trial, 39 participants, low-quality evidence).There was insufficient evidence to detect a difference in the risk of all-cause mortality between those treated with a TPO mimetic and placebo (RR 0.74, 95%CI 0.52 to 1.05, five trials, 456 participants, very low-quality evidence).There was a significant reduction in the number of participants receiving any platelet transfusion between those treated with TPO mimetics and placebo (RR 0.76, 95% CI 0.61 to 0.95, four trials, 206 participants, moderate-quality evidence).There was no evidence for a difference in the incidence of transfusion reactions between those treated with TPO mimetics and placebo (pOR 0.06, 95% CI 0.00 to 3.44, one trial, 98 participants, very low-quality evidence).There was no evidence for a difference in thromboembolic events between TPO mimetics and placebo (RR 1.41, 95%CI 0.39 to 5.01, five trials, 456 participants, very-low quality evidence).There was no evidence for a difference in drug reactions between TPO mimetics and placebo (RR 1.12, 95% CI 0.83 to 1.51, five trials, 455 participants, low-quality evidence).No trial reported the number of days of bleeding per participant, platelet transfusion episodes, mean red cell transfusions per participant, red cell transfusion episodes, transfusion-transmitted infections, formation of antiplatelet antibodies or platelet refractoriness.In order to demonstrate a reduction in bleeding events from 26 in 100 to 16 in 100 participants, a study would need to recruit 514 participants (80% power, 5% significance).

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:

There is insufficient evidence at present for thrombopoietin (TPO) mimetics for the prevention of bleeding for people with thrombocytopenia due to chronic bone marrow failure. There is no randomised controlled trial evidence for artificial platelet substitutes, platelet-poor plasma, fibrinogen concentrate, rFVIIa, rFXIII or rIL6 or rIL11, antifibrinolytics or DDAVP in this setting.