S Pybus, A MacCormac, A Houghton, V Martlew, J Thachil
Journal Issue: 
Volume 42: Issue 4: 2012



Background: There is increasing evidence to suggest that the use of fresh frozen plasma (FFP) as a prophylaxis to bleeding is ineffective. However, a high proportion of FFP transfusions still occur in non-bleeding patients despite the high risk of adverse events. The aim of the study was to assess compliance with current prophylactic FFP guidelines at a large tertiary centre.

Methods:  Data were collected retrospectively over a 16-month period from May 2010 to August 2011. Information collected included patient characteristics, indications for and details of FFP use, and the ordering of coagulation screens before and after transfusion.

Results: Over this period, FFP was used in a total of 573 transfusion episodes, 88 of which were prophylactic. This use deviated from the British Committee for Standards in Haematology guidelines in three main areas: indications for FFP use (89%), dose prescribed (49%) and the measurement of prothrombin time (PT) and activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT) after transfusion (66%).

Conclusions: There were no significant differences in compliance with guidelines between different hospital departments, suggesting a culture of widespread inappropriate FFP use and a general lack of understanding among clinicians. Physician training and increased enforcement of existing guidelines could reduce FFP usage and expenditure.

Keywords Coagulation, plasma, transfusion

Declaration of Interests No conflicts of interest declared.

Journal Keywords: