by William Crews, MD
There are many FDA required quality control measurements that must be met to ensure the safety, purity, and potency of blood components before they can be labeled and made ready for patient use. One of the required measurements for every apheresis platelet is calculation of the platelet yield (volume x platelet count). For apheresis platelets the FDA considers an acceptable platelet yield to be ≥ 3.0 x 10(11) platelets, but does allow components containing less than 3.0 x 10(11) platelets to be labeled for transfusion if the actual platelet count is on the product.
When the platelet yield is < 3.0 x 10(11) the apheresis platelet is considered a low-yield product. At Carter BloodCare, when the yield does not meet the minimum threshold, but is ≥2.8 X 10(11), we consider the potency of the product acceptable for transfusion since it is likely the platelet count is sufficient for patient care. When the yield is < 2.8 X 10(11) these products are not labeled for transfusion and the product is discarded or used for research. Use of low-yield platelets should routinely be considered for pediatric patients who will receive an aliquot transfusion, a thrombocytopenic patient who is being transfused prophylactically, and during periods when platelet transfusion demand is higher than minimum inventory levels. We recommend discussing the use of low-yield platelets with your transfusion committee to explore other patient populations that may benefit from this product.