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Estimation of bleeding risk in critical care patients undergoing interventional radiological procedures is frequently made on the basis of blood tests. If these tests are abnormal, fresh frozen plasma and/or platelet transfusions may be given to reduce the risk of bleeding. We performed an audit and national survey of the use of fresh frozen plasma and platelet transfusions prior to interventional radiological procedures. We identified 68 consecutive chest, abdominal or pelvic drain insertions in 54 critical care patients between 2008 and 2011 at a single intensive care unit. Eight (12.3%) patients were transfused fresh frozen plasma prior to drain insertion despite having a prothrombin time below 22 s. One patient with a prothrombin time above this threshold received fresh frozen plasma. One patient received a platelet transfusion, at double dose, despite a platelet count above 50 × 109/l. A national survey of interventional radiologists demonstrated extensive variability in safe thresholds for invasive procedures and usage of fresh frozen plasma. There is a need for further clarification around coagulopathy and interventional radiology in the critical care setting.

Original publication




Journal article


J Intensive Care Soc

Publication Date





99 - 104


Haemorrhagic disorders, blood component transfusion, critical illness, interventional radiology, transfusion medicine