Impact of platelet transfusion on outcomes in trauma patients

Crit Care. 2022 Feb 21;26(1):49. doi: 10.1186/s13054-022-03928-y.


Background: Trauma-induced coagulopathy includes thrombocytopenia and platelet dysfunction that impact patient outcome. Nevertheless, the role of platelet transfusion remains poorly defined. The aim of the study was 1/ to evaluate the impact of early platelet transfusion on 24-h all-cause mortality and 2/ to describe platelet count at admission (PCA) and its relationship with trauma severity and outcome.

Methods: Observational study carried out on a multicentre prospective trauma registry. All adult trauma patients directly admitted in participating trauma centres between May 2011 and June 2019 were included. Severe haemorrhage was defined as ≥ 4 red blood cell units within 6 h and/or death from exsanguination. The impact of PCA and early platelet transfusion (i.e. within the first 6 h) on 24-h all-cause mortality was assessed using uni- and multivariate logistic regression.

Results: Among the 19,596 included patients, PCA (229 G/L [189,271]) was associated with coagulopathy, traumatic burden, shock and bleeding severity. In a logistic regression model, 24-h all-cause mortality increased by 37% for every 50 G/L decrease in platelet count (OR 0.63 95% CI 0.57-0.70; p < 0.001). Regarding patients with severe hemorrhage, platelets were transfused early for 36% of patients. Early platelet transfusion was associated with a decrease in 24-h all-cause mortality (versus no or late platelets): OR 0.52 (95% CI 0.34-0.79; p < 0.05).

Conclusions: PCA, although mainly in normal range, was associated with trauma severity and coagulopathy and was predictive of bleeding intensity and outcome. Early platelet transfusion within 6 h was associated with a decrease in mortality in patients with severe hemorrhage. Future studies are needed to determine which doses of platelet transfusion will improve outcomes after major trauma.

Keywords: Haemorrhage; Outcome; Platelet count; Platelet transfusion; Trauma.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Blood Coagulation Disorders* / etiology
  • Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Hemorrhage / therapy
  • Humans
  • Platelet Transfusion / adverse effects
  • Thrombocytopenia* / etiology
  • Thrombocytopenia* / therapy
  • Trauma Centers