Effect of thrombocytopenia and platelet transfusion on outcomes of acute variceal bleeding in patients with chronic liver disease

Sagnik Biswas, Manas Vaishnav, Piyush Pathak, Deepak Gunjan, Soumya Jagannath Mahapatra, Saurabh Kedia, Gyanranjan Rout, Bhaskar Thakur, Baibaswata Nayak, Ramesh Kumar, Shalimar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND Platelet transfusion in acute variceal bleeding (AVB) is recommended by few guidelines and is common in routine clinical practice, even though the effect of thrombocytopenia and platelet transfusion on the outcomes of AVB is unclear. AIM To determine how platelet counts, platelets transfusions, and fresh frozen plasma transfusions affect the outcomes of AVB in cirrhosis patients in terms of bleeding control, rebleeding, and mortality. METHODS Prospectively maintained database was used to analyze the outcomes of cirrhosis patients who presented with AVB. The outcomes were assessed as the risk of rebleeding at days 5 and 42, and risk of death at day 42, considering the platelet counts and platelet transfusion. Propensity score matching (PSM) was used to compare the outcomes in those who received platelet transfusion. Statistical comparisons were done using Kaplan-Meier curves with log-rank tests and Coxproportional hazard model for rebleeding and for 42-d mortality. RESULTS The study included 913 patients, with 83.5% men, median age 45 years, and Model for End-stage Liver Disease score 14.7. Platelet count<20 × 109/L, 20-50 × 109/L, and > 50 × 109/L were found in 23 (2.5%), 168 (18.4%), and 722 (79.1%) patients, respectively. Rebleeding rates were similar between the three platelet groups on days 5 and 42 (13%, 6.5%, and 4.7%, respectively, on days 5, P= 0.150; and 21.7%, 17.3%, and 14.4%, respectively, on days 42, P= 0.433). At day 42, the mortality rates for the three platelet groups were also similar (13.0%, 23.2%, and 17.2%, respectively, P= 0.153). On PSM analysis patients receiving platelets transfusions (n= 89) had significantly higher rebleeding rates on day 5 (14.6% vs 4.5%; P= 0.039) and day 42 (32.6% vs 15.7%; P= 0.014), compared to those who didn’t. The mortality rates were also higher among patients receiving platelets (25.8% vs 23.6%; P= 0.862), although the difference was not significant. On multivariate analysis, platelet transfusion and not platelet count, was independently associated with 42-d rebleeding. Hepatic encephalopathy was independently associated with 42-d mortality. CONCLUSION Thrombocytopenia had no effect on rebleeding rates or mortality in cirrhosis patients with AVB; however, platelet transfusion increased rebleeding on days 5 and 42, with a higher but nonsignificant effect on mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1421-1437
Number of pages17
JournalWorld Journal of Hepatology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 27 2022


  • Fresh frozen plasma
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage
  • Mortality
  • Platelet transfusion
  • Portal hypertension
  • Thrombocytopenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology


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