Quality of evidence-based guidelines for platelet transfusion and use: A systematic review

Arwa Z. Al-Riyami, Rachel Jug, Ursula La Rocca, Homa Keshavarz, Denise Landry, Nadine Shehata, Simon J. Stanworth, Susan Nahirniak*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Guidelines for platelet (PLT) transfusion are an important source of information for clinicians. Although guidelines intend to increase consistency and quality of care, variation in methodology and recommendations may exist that could impact the value of a guideline. We aimed to determine the quality of existing PLT transfusion guidelines using the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation (AGREE II) instrument and to describe the inconsistencies in recommendations. Study Design and Methods: A systematic search was undertaken for evidence-based guidelines from January 1, 2013, to January 25, 2019. Citations were reviewed in duplicate for inclusion and descriptive data extracted. Four physicians appraised the guideline using the AGREE II instrument and the scaled score for each item evaluated was calculated. The protocol was registered in PROSPERO. Results: Of 6744 citations, 6740 records were screened. Seven of 28 full-text studies met the inclusion criteria. The median scaled score (and the interquartile range of the scaled score) for the following items were as follows: scope and purpose, 94% (8%); stakeholder involvement, 63% (18%); rigor of development, 83% (14%); clarity of presentation, 94% (6%); applicability, 58% (20%); and editorial independence, 77% (4%). Overall quality ranged from 4 to 7 (7 is the maximum score). Inconsistent recommendations were on prophylactic PLT transfusion in hypoproliferative thrombocytopenia in the presence of risk factors and dose recommendations. Conclusion: Inconsistencies between guidelines and variable quality highlight areas for future guideline writers to address. Areas of specific attention include issues of stakeholder involvement and applicability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)948-958
Number of pages11
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • evidence-based guidelines
  • platelet transfusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Hematology


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