Patients treated for acute VTE during periods of treatment-related thrombocytopenia have high rates of recurrent thrombosis and transfusion-related adverse outcomes
Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a common complication of hematologic malignancies. Prolonged periods of thrombocytopenia are experienced universally by patients undergoing treatment for these diseases, yet data to guide management of anticoagulation in this setting are lacking. To obtain data on the management and outcomes of VTE in patients with thrombocytopenia related to the treatment of hematologic malignancies. This was an observational cohort study of patients experiencing VTE during periods of treatment-related thrombocytopenia over a 5-year period at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Medical records were reviewed for diagnostic, treatment and outcomes data, including bleeding events (categorized by WHO criteria) and progression or recurrence of VTE. Eighty-two patients meeting inclusion criteria were identified. Forty-eight percent were male and the median age was 55. Sixty-seven patients received anticoagulation, 88% of these were managed with transfusion support for a platelet goal of 50 × 109/L. Thirty-one patients experienced bleeding events, 22 of which were grade 2 and nine of which were grade 3/4. The median platelet count at the time of bleeding event was 54 × 109/L. Seven patients experienced progression of thrombosis and/or recurrence. Eleven patients experienced transfusion reactions and 30 experienced volume overload requiring diuretics or dialysis. While bleeding events were not uncommon, the majority of events were non-major/non-clinically relevant. Most bleeding events occurred while the platelet count was within the ‘goal’ range of ≥50 × 109/L, and many patients experienced transfusion related adverse events. Prospective studies are urgently needed to identify the optimal transfusion strategy for these patients.
KeywordsVenous thromboembolism Thromboembolism, pulmonary Hematologic neoplasms Platelet transfusion Hemorrhage
This research was supported (in part) by the NHLBI under award number T32HL007093.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors have no relevant conflicts of interest to report.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
A waiver of informed consent was granted by the IRB (based upon lack of direct patient contact, minimal risk and inability to contact many subjects due to death or other circumstances).
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