Panic for platelets spikes demand in Lucknow as dengue cases rise
Panic among attendants of patients is pushing up demand, doctors said but averred that not everyone requires a platelet transfusion
The demand for platelet transfusion has gone up in Lucknow with the rise in dengue cases. However, doctors say the demand is unwarranted. They say all dengue patients do not require a platelet transfusion.
“The panic among attendants is pushing up the demand, and now, we are getting requests for platelets not only from hospitals in Lucknow but from Hardoi and Barabanki as well,” said Prof Tulika Chandra, HoD, transfusion medicine, King George’s Medical University (KGMU).
The KGMU blood bank has observed a demand of about 150 units in the last one day, against the usual demand of between 50 to 70 units per day.
Similarly, the demand has gone up in other blood banks including the Lucknow Nursing Home Association Blood Bank, Civil Hospital and Balrampur Hospital.
“Till the platelet count is 20,000 there is no risk. However, the patient needs observation once the count starts falling below 40,000 and the patient has been vomiting, bleeding from the mouth or the nose. These are clear indications of risk but transfusion should be decided only by consulting a doctor and not on a panic note,” said Prof Kauser Usman, HoD, geriatric medicine, KGMU.
“Among young patients, one can wait till the count falls to 10,000 before transfusion of platelets is thought of, while among pregnant women, old people and those suffering with chronic illnesses, the decision for transfusion may be taken by the doctor when the level falls to 20,000,” said Prof Chandra.
“Platelet count does not matter much if the quality of platelets in the body (of the patient) is good. The count may be low but good quality platelets will function well. In such a situation also there is no need to panic and one should go by the doctor’s decision,” said Dr Abhishek Shukla, secretary-general Association of International Doctors.
According to statistics, Lucknow has reported close to 800 dengue cases this year, with the rising trend seen in the past one week.
“There is more panic than need. We are maintaining a stock of 10 units of platelets and every day 2 to 3 units are needed for patients admitted to our hospital,” said Dr SK Nanda of Civil hospital.
Doctors said instead of going by just the count of platelets in the body, attendants should go by the doctor’s advice, who will advise transfusion depending on a patient’s condition and symptoms.
The bed situation
Hospitals in the state capital have reserved beds for patients of infectious diseases, said the chief medical officer of Lucknow, Dr Manoj Agrawal. In all, 314 beds are reserved in the state capital in different hospitals.
At Balrampur Hospital, 128 beds have been reserved where eight patients of dengue and eight of high fever are presently recuperating. Similarly, other hospitals too have beds reserved.
At the Civil Hospital, 70 beds have been reserved and 36 patients of high fever are admitted. At the Civil Hospital (Mahanagar) 20 beds are reserved. The TB Hospital in Thakurganj has 14 beds reserved for dengue patients, while Rani Laxmibai Hospital has 12 beds reserved.
“Samples of all patients having high fever have been sent for confirmation of dengue,” said Dr Agrawal, who inspected the facilities at Balrampur Hospital.