Both platelet concentrates (PC) derived from whole blood or single donor platelets (SDP) obtained from a single donor by apheresis are indicated to treat acute hemorrhage secondary to thrombocytopenia or to provide prophylaxis from hemorrhage in patients with bone marrow aplasia. Currently platelet transfusion therapy is limited by several concerns, including the consequences of alloimmunization in chronically transfused patients and septic reactions caused by bacterial contamination. There is debate about which platelet product should be used; many transfusion services favor the primary use of PC, whereas others favor SDP. This review will discuss five areas that should be considered when considering the use of SDP or PC: (1) the impact on infectious complications, (2) transfusion reaction rate, (3) leukodepletion, (4) reduction of transfusion frequency in patients with bone marrow suppression and, (5) the treatment and prevention of alloimmunization. The authors believe that SDP offers major advantages over PC for most of these issues, particularly when improved patient care is given primary emphasis.
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