Effectiveness of platelet transfusion in acute leukemic pediatric patients: a prospective study


  • S. Subash Department of Transfusion Medicine, Madras Medical College and RGGGH, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
  • D. Umesh Department of Transfusion Medicine, Madras Medical College and RGGGH, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India




Leukemia, Platelet transfusion, Refractoriness


Background: In India, leukemia account for 25-35% of hematologic malignancies affecting children. Pediatric patients with acute leukemia have to undergo chemotherapy, which may cause protracted thrombocytopenia due to the cytotoxic effects of the drugs prescribed and due to the primary disease. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the need for platelet transfusion in leukemic children and to assess the effectiveness of platelet transfusion among them.  

Methods: A prospective observational study was conducted in the Department of transfusion medicine and hematology at a tertiary care teaching hospital for a period of one year. The study population included children diagnosed as acute leukemia in the age group 1-12 years. The transfusion was given depending upon the clinical sign of bleeding and the platelet count. The pre and post transfusion platelet count (24 hours after the transfusion) were estimated using hematology analyzer. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS software.  

Results: 198 episodes of platelet transfusion were given to 30 children with acute leukemia. It was found for 95% CI of the mean between the pre and post-transfusion platelet count for single, double units and more than two units platelet transfusion, the rise in platelet count was significant (p<0.0001) and there was no refractoriness. All children were negative for transfusion transmissible infections at the end of the study.

Conclusions: In the present study, the clinical management of children with acute leukemia has significantly improved with use of platelet transfusions and thereby, the mortality rate due to bleeding complications has dropped rapidly with remarkable clinical improvement in clinical outcomes.


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