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BACKGROUND: Preinjury use of antiplatelet agents (e.g., clopidogrel and aspirin) is a risk factor for increased morbidity and mortality for patients with traumatic intracranial hemorrhage (tICH). Some investigators have recommended platelet transfusion to reverse the antiplatelet effects in tICH. This evidence-based medicine review examines the evidence regarding the impact of platelet transfusion on emergency department (ED) patients with preinjury antiplatelet use and tICH on patient-oriented outcomes.

METHODS: The MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, and other databases were searched. Studies were selected for inclusion if they compared platelet transfusion with no-platelet transfusion in the treatment of adult ED patients with preinjury antiplatelet use and tICH and reported rates of mortality, neurocognitive function, or adverse effects. We assessed the quality of the included studies using standard criteria.

RESULTS: Five retrospective, registry-based studies were identified, which enrolled 635 patients cumulatively. Based on standard criteria, three studies were of low-quality evidence, and two studies were of very low-quality evidence. One study reported higher in-hospital mortality for patients with platelet transfusion (relative risk, 2.42; 95% confidence interval, 1.2-4.9); another showed a lower mortality rate for patients receiving platelet transfusion (relative risk, 0.21; 95% confidence interval, 0.05-0.95). Three studies did not show any statistical difference in comparing mortality rates between the groups. No studies reported intermediate or long-term neurocognitive outcomes or adverse events.

CONCLUSION: Five retrospective registry studies with suboptimal methodologies provide inadequate evidence to support the routine use of platelet transfusion in adult ED patients with preinjury antiplatelet use and tICH. (J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2012;72: 1658-1663. Copyright (C) 2012 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins).

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Systematic review, level III.

(C) 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.