Evidence-based practice guidelines for plasma transfusion

John D. Roback, Stephen Caldwell, Jeff Carson, Robertson Davenport, Mary Jo Drew, Anne Eder, Mark Fung, Marilyn Hamilton, John R. Hess, Naomi Luban, Jeremy G. Perkins, Bruce S. Sachais, Aryeh Shander, Toby Silverman, Ed Snyder, Christopher Tormey, John Waters, Ben Djulbegovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

253 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: There is little systematically derived evidence-based guidance to inform plasma transfusion decisions. To address this issue, the AABB commissioned the development of clinical practice guidelines to help direct appropriate transfusion of plasma. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: A systematic review (SR) and meta-analysis of randomized and observational studies was performed to quantify known benefits and harms of plasma transfusion in common clinical scenarios (see accompanying article). A multidisciplinary guidelines panel then used the SR and the GRADE methodology to develop evidence-based plasma transfusion guidelines as well as identify areas for future investigation. RESULTS: Based on evidence ranging primarily from moderate to very low in quality, the panel developed the following guidelines: 1) The panel suggested that plasma be transfused to patients requiring massive transfusion. However, 2) the panel could not recommend for or against transfusion of plasma at a plasma : red blood cell ratio of 1:3 or more during massive transfusion, 3) nor could the panel recommend for or against transfusion of plasma to patients undergoing surgery in the absence of massive transfusion. 4) The panel suggested that plasma be transfused in patients with warfarin therapy-related intracranial hemorrhage, 5) but could not recommend for or against transfusion of plasma to reverse warfarin anticoagulation in patients without intracranial hemorrhage. 6) The panel suggested against plasma transfusion for other selected groups of patients. CONCLUSION: We have systematically developed evidence-based guidance to inform plasma transfusion decisions in common clinical scenarios. Data from additional randomized studies will be required to establish more comprehensive and definitive guidelines for plasma transfusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1227-1239
Number of pages13
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Hematology


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