Special laboratory equipment is not needed to produce bacteria-free platelet concentrates (commonly referred to as platelet-rich plasma), but stringent attention to proper aseptic technique is essential.
Equine veterinarians are using platelet concentrates more often for the management of musculoskeletal disease. They can be prepared using a variety of methods, and they are often injected into structures that are susceptible to bacterial contamination, such as synovial sheaths. Infection of these structures could have severe consequences for the patient.
Researchers from the Universidad de Caldas in Colombia assessed the risk of bacterial infection during platelet concentrate preparation utilizing the "tube method."
Bacterial swabs were taken from 15 horses, with the operators collecting samples from the blood, the environment where the platelet concentrates were prepared, and the products.
Bacteria were not isolated from the PCs, but were isolated from the horses, the operators, and the environment where blood samples were collected. Approximately 10 different bacteria species were isolated from horses, even after a shaving and disinfecting the blood sample site. All species were normal inhabitants of equine skin and included Staphylococcus
spp., Escherichia coli
, and Streptococcus
Of the 13 bacteria species cultured from the horses, operators, and environment, 23% were resistant to penicillin, 19% to ampicillin, and less than 5% were resistant to ceftiofur, sulphamethoxazole/trimethoprim, and enrofloxacin.
"Although bacteria were not found in equine PCs tested, it is possible that the most critical point for bacterial contamination is the aseptic preparation of the equine skin of the venipuncture site," the authors noted. "This situation has been described for bacteriological quality control of human platelet concentrates."
The study, "Monitoring bacterial contamination in equine platelet concentrates obtained by the tube method in a clean laboratory environment under three different technical conditions," will be published in an upcoming edition of the Equine Veterinary Journal. The abstract is available online.
Disclaimer: Seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian before proceeding with any diagnosis, treatment, or therapy.