The safety and hemostatic effects of platelet transfusions have been well demonstrated in a National Cancer Institute—Acute Leukemia Task Force supported collaborative study among five major institutions and the National Laboratories of the American Red Cross. These hospitals are collecting large quantities of platelets on a regular basis and are defining the conditions under which platelets should be given. Although the primary goal of this program is the evaluation of the role of platelet replacement therapy in the management of patients with leukemia, the knowledge gained from this program can now be extended toward the management of patients with other diseases. These would include other malignancies where myelosuppressive drugs and radiotherapy are used, aplastic anemia, thrombasthenia, drug-induced or idiopathic thrombocytopenia, and radiation accidents.
The problems of securing sufficient quantities and maintaining viability of platelets have limited utilization of platelet transfusions as a therapeutic procedure in management of platelet deficiency. No