Platelet Transfusion
Jagdish Kathwate
MD Pediatrics. Assistant Professor, Government Medical College, Aurangabad, India.
First Created: 12/20/2007  Last Updated: 12/20/2007

Patient Education

Why platelet transfusions are given?

Sometimes the number of platelets in the blood is lower than normal. This may be because of illness such as cancer, leukemia, or certain blood disorders, or because of a side effect of chemotherapy treatment. If your bone marrow is not working normally, the number of platelets in the blood may drop. How low the number of platelets gets depends on how much the illness or chemotherapy has affected the cells in the bone marrow. The normal platelet count in children is between 1.50 and 4 lakhs. Very rarely, more serious bleeding - for example, into the brain or the digestive system - can occur. Serious bleeding is very rare and usually only happens if the platelet count drops below 10 thousand. In hospitals, platelet transfusions are often used to prevent the platelet count from dropping too low.

How Platelets are stored?

The platelets are stored in small plastic bags that are kept at a low temperature. Each bag is called a unit and contains about 100 ml of yellow fluid. The platelets will have been collected from blood donated by 3-5 people (donors). Sometimes the platelets are collected from a single person using a special machine that separates the platelets from the blood. The machine is called an apheresis machine and platelets collected in this way are referred to as apheresed platelets. It takes 15-30 minutes to give each unit. Normally one unit is enough to prevent or stop bleeding. Occasionally two units are needed.

What are the Possible side effects?

Severe side effects from platelet transfusions are rare. The more common side effects include itching, rashes, high temperature, and shivering. This is sometimes referred to as having a reaction. Having apheresed platelets reduces the risk of becoming sensitive to the platelets and having a reaction to the transfusion. People who donate blood are carefully screened to assess their risk of having an infection or virus, such as hepatitis or HIV. This is to make sure the blood and platelets they donate is as safe as possible.

Platelet Transfusion Platelet Transfusion 08/01/2015
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