Viral Infection, Dengue Cases Bring Down Bangalore's Blood Platelet Count
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08 September 2010
By Soumita Majumdar
Cases of viral infection, dengue and H1N1 have not only kept hospitals and doctors busy for over two months now, they have also resulted in a huge demand for blood platelets.
Doctors said that quite often blood tests on patients suggested a dip in the platelet count, with many of them requiring urgent transfusion.
The stock of platelets is very low and it is becoming difficult for us to supply them every day," Gayethri Chandrakanth, a technician at the Bangalore Blood Bank, said. There have been instances where we have had to turn patients away, since we had no stock of platelets. It’s becoming difficult to meet the demand. Some students and organisations are volunteering to donate blood, but the scarcity is still there," she said.
In a day, at least three to five patients approach the blood bank for platelets and each patient requires about four to five units of blood. To meet the demand, we have now made it mandatory for the patient’s family to replace the platelets through blood donation," Gayethri said.
The Dr Shivaji Rao’s Blood Bank has had no stock of platelets for the past few weeks. The demand is high and there are not many donors to help replenish the stock," an employee of the bank, who did not want to be named, said. We are turning away patients and the hospitals approaching us."
The demand is for more than 100 units every day," Dr Atashi Sinha, medical officer at Lions Blood Bank said. On an average, we get about 20 to 30 units, mainly as replenishment from the families of patients."
Doctors, however, were of the opinion that the worst was over. For two months, the demand was very high," Dr C Shivram, consultant, blood bank, Manipal Hospital, said. However, over the last one week, it has come down," he said.
If people start using platelets judiciously and wait till the count falls to 20,000, then the crisis can be addressed. Intra-cranial bleeding can be prevented even with just 10,000 platelets," Dr Shivram said.
The situation is better now with the use of the apheresis machine by nearly 10 blood banks. Through this technique, the blood goes to a disposable kit, gets processed and, after the platelets are separated, can be infused into the donor’s body again.
Earlier, 450 ml of blood could give 50 ml of platelets, and six donors were needed to get one adult dose. Now, with this technique, one donor is enough," Dr Shivram said.