Platelet transfusions are used to prevent and treat bleeding in people who are thrombocytopenic. Despite improvements in donor screening and laboratory testing, a small risk of viral, bacterial, or protozoal contamination of platelets remains. There is also an ongoing risk from newly emerging blood transfusion-transmitted infections for which laboratory tests may not be available at the time of initial outbreak.
One solution to reduce the risk of blood transfusion-transmitted infections from platelet transfusion is photochemical pathogen reduction, in which pathogens are either inactivated or significantly depleted in number, thereby reducing the chance of transmission. This process might offer additional benefits, including platelet shelf-life extension, and negate the requirement for gamma-irradiation of platelets. Although current pathogen-reduction technologies have been proven to reduce pathogen load in platelet concentrates, a number of published clinical studies have raised concerns about the effectiveness of pathogen-reduced platelets for post-transfusion platelet count recovery and the prevention of bleeding when compared with standard platelets.
This is an update of a Cochrane review first published in 2013.