The good use of plasma. A critical analysis of five international guidelines

Blood Transfus. 2008 Jan;6(1):18-24. doi: 10.2450/2008.0041-07.


Background: The clinical use of fresh-frozen plasma (FFP) is progressively increasing both nationally and internationally, despite the fact that many studies have shown the weaknesses of the indications for its use. Guidelines on the good use of plasma have, therefore, been adopted in various countries. The aim of the present study was to analyse some of the existing guidelines on the good use of plasma, applying a scientifically validated method, as a preliminary step in the implementation of Regional guidelines.

Methods: Abibliographic search (1990-2006) was conducted in databases, websites, and the archives of scientific societies. Relevant articles were recovered in full. The selected guidelines were evaluated using theAGREE instrument, which assesses the completeness and structural quality of the guidelines and, in some aspects, the contents of the recommendations. The project, co-ordinated by the Regional Centre for Co-ordination and Compensation (CRCC) and carried out by four Services of Immunohaematology and Transfusion (SIT) in Umbria, was funded by the Region of Umbria and approved by the four health care institutions involved.

Results: The bibliographic search yielded 3067 abstracts of which 239 were considered relevant. The analysis of these led to the recovery of 11 guidelines, among which five were selected: those from the British Committee for Standards in Haematology, theAgence Française de Securité Sanitaire de Produits de Sante, the Canadian Members of the Expert Working Group, the American Society of Anesthesiologists Task Force on Blood Component Therapy and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/Australasian Society of Blood Transfusion.

Conclusions: None of the guidelines analysed obtained a score higher than 50% in all the domains of the AGREE score. There was no evidence of a tendency to improvement over time in the guidelines analysed. Objective evaluation of the guidelines analysed could provide the starting point for the subsequent production of similar documents.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Component Transfusion / standards*
  • Humans
  • Plasma*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*