Flow cytometry is increasingly used in the study of platelets in inherited and acquired disorders of platelet number and function. However, wide variation exists in specific reagents, methods, and equipment used, making interpretation and comparison of results difficult. The goal of the present study was to provide expert consensus guidance on the use of flow cytometry for the evaluation of platelet disorders. A modified RAND/UCLA survey method was used to obtain a consensus among 11 experts from 10 countries across four continents, on the appropriateness of statements relating to clinical utility, pre-analytical variables, instrument and reagent standardization, methods, reporting, and quality control for platelet flow cytometry. Feedback from the initial survey revealed that uncertainty was sometimes due to lack of expertise with a particular test condition rather than unavailable or ambiguous data. To address this, the RAND method was modified to allow experts to self-identify statements for which they could not provide expert input. There was uniform agreement among experts in the areas of instrument and reagent standardization, methods, reporting, and quality control and this agreement is used to suggest best practices in these areas. However, 25.9% and 50% of statements related to pre-analytical variables and clinical utility, respectively, were rated as uncertain. Thus, while citrate is the preferred anticoagulant for many flow cytometric platelet tests, expert opinions differed on the acceptability of other anticoagulants, particularly heparin. Lack of expert consensus on the clinical utility of many flow cytometric platelet tests indicates the need for rigorous multicenter clinical outcome studies.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2021 International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis
- RAND/UCLA survey
- SSC Platelet Physiology
- flow cytometry
ASJC Scopus subject areas