Soaring platelet demand after spike in dengue cases
The decline in the platelet count is common in dengue patients and others suffering from viral infection that gives high fever
LUCKNOW: In the wake of the significant rise in dengue cases in the state, the demand for platelet units have doubled at King George’s Medical University (KGMU) blood bank. A similar situation prevailed in other blood banks of the state capital as well.
“Out of the 140 units of platelets issued daily, around 70% are meant for dengue patients. This is in contrast to the average daily demand of 60 to 70 units,” said Prof Tulika Chandra, head of the transfusion medicine department of KGMU.
The decline in the platelet count is common in dengue patients and others suffering from viral infection that gives high fever. To compensate the fall of platelets, doctors prescribe platelet transfusion, depending on a patient’s condition. A majority of the dengue patients do not need platelet transfusion.
“Patients’ attendants and even doctors start calling demanding platelet unit even if the component count in a patient’s blood is 40,000 (in patient sample). (Platelet) transfusion is advised only if its level falls too low or there are complications such as bleeding,” said Prof AK Tripathi, HoD of clinical haematology, KGMU.
The blood bank at Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Institute of Medical Sciences is also issuing more number of platelet units than its average. “The demand has doubled and about 50 units of platelets are being issued daily from under 20 units earlier,” said Dr VK Sharma, in-charge of the blood bank.
Even the demand for single-donor platelet (SDP), which means extracting platelets from freshly-donated blood by a voluntary donor of the same blood group as the patient, has also gone up.
The flip side of transfusion
While platelet is life-saving for patients who have a very low count of it, it has some possible adverse impacts, something people should know about. “Platelet is foreign to the body of a patient and any such foreign body/particle when transfused can also cause harm if it contains some infection that could not been screened before,” said Prof Tulika Chandra.
“Platelets can carry infection, which can harm a patient. So as much as possible avoid platelet transfusion unless clinically indicated,” the doctor added.