Platelet dysfunction (PD) is an independent predictor of mortality in patients with severe traumatic brain injury (sTBI). Platelet transfusions (PLTs) have been shown to be an effective treatment strategy to reverse platelet inhibition. Their use is contingent on availability and may be associated with increased cost and transfusion-related complications, making desmopressin (DDAVP) attractive. We hypothesized that DDAVP would correct PD similarly to PLTs in patients with sTBI.
This retrospective study evaluated all blunt trauma patients admitted to an urban, level 1 trauma center from July 2015 to October 2016 with sTBI (defined as head abbreviated injury scale [AIS] ≥3) and PD (defined as adenosine diphosphate [ADP] inhibition ≥60% on thromboelastography) and subsequently received treatment. Per our institutional practice, patients with sTBI and PD are transfused one unit of apheresis platelets to reverse inhibition. During a platelet shortage, we interchanged DDAVP for the initial treatment. Patients were classified as receiving DDAVP or PLT based on the initial treatment.
A total of 57 patients were included (DDAVP, n = 23; PLT, n = 34). Patients who received DDAVP were more severely injured (injury severity score, 29 vs. 23; p = 0.045), but there was no difference in head AIS (4 vs. 4, p = 0.16). There was no difference between the two groups in admission platelet count (244 ± 68 × 103/μL vs. 265 ± 66 × 103/μL, p = 0.24) or other coagulation parameters such as prothrombin time, partial thromboplastin time, or international normalized ratio. Before treatment, both groups had similar ADP inhibition as measured by thromboelastography (ADP, 86% vs. 89%, p = 0.34). After treatment, both the DDAVP and PLT groups had similar correction of platelet ADP inhibition (p = 0.28).
In patients with severe traumatic brain injury and PD, DDAVP may be an alternative to PLTs to correct PD.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE
Therapeutic, level IV.