It's about time: Transfusion effects on postinjury platelet aggregation over time

Lucy Z. Kornblith, Anna Decker, Amanda S. Conroy, Carolyn M. Hendrickson, Alexander T. Fields, Anamaria J. Robles, Rachael A. Callcut, Mitchell J. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Impaired postinjury platelet aggregation is common, but the effect of transfusion on this remains unclear. Data suggest that following injury platelet transfusion may not correct impaired platelet aggregation, and impaired platelet aggregation may not predict the need for platelet transfusion. We sought to further investigate platelet aggregation responses to transfusions, using regression statistics to isolate the independent effects of transfusions given in discrete time intervals from injury on both immediate and longitudinal platelet aggregation. We hypothesized that platelet aggregation response to platelet transfusion increases over time from injury. METHODS: Serial (0-96 hours) blood samples were collected from 248 trauma patients. Platelet aggregation was assessed in vitro with impedance aggregometry stimulated by adenosine diphosphate, collagen, and thrombin receptor-activating peptide-6. Using regression, transfusion exposure was modeled against platelet aggregation at each subsequent timepoint and adjusted for confounders (Injury Severity Score, international normalized ratio (INR), base deficit, platelet count, and interval transfusions). The expected change in platelet aggregation at each timepoint under the intervention of transfusion exposure was calculated and compared with the observed platelet aggregation. RESULTS: The 248 patients analyzed were severely injured (Injury Severity Score, 21 ± 19), with normal platelet counts (mean, 268 × 109/L ± 90), and 62% were transfused in 24 hours. The independent effect of transfusions on subsequent platelet aggregation over time was modeled with observed platelet aggregation under hypothetical treatment of one unit transfusion of blood, plasma, or platelets. Platelet transfusions had increasing expected effects on subsequent platelet aggregation over time, with the maximal expected effect occurring late (4-5 days from injury). CONCLUSION: Controversy exists on whether transfusions improve impaired postinjury platelet aggregation. Using regression modeling, we identified that expected transfusion effects on subsequent platelet aggregation are maximal with platelet transfusion given late after injury. This is critical for tailored resuscitation, identifying a potential early period of resistance to platelet transfusion that resolves by 96 hours. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic, level V.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1042-1051
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019


  • Hemorrhage
  • Platelet transfusion
  • Wounds and injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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