Date: 11 Apr 2011

Unfurling the Rationale Use of Platelet Transfusion in Dengue Fever


Dengue fever and dengue haemorrhagic fever have emerged as a global public health problem in recent decades. The practice of platelet transfusion has been adapted into the standard clinical practice in management of hospitalized dengue patients. The exact indications and situations in which platelet have to be transfused may vary greatly. Blood components especially platelet concentrates due to their short shelf life are frequently in limited supply. Hence, appropriate use of blood is required to ensure the availability of blood for patients in whom it is really indicated, as well as to avoid unnecessary exposure of the patients to the risk of transfusion reactions and transmission of blood borne infection. The present study was conducted to evaluate the appropriateness of platelet transfusion done in dengue patients with thrombocytopenia. The present study was conducted on 343 serologically confirmed dengue patients admitted at JSS University Hospital between 1st January and 30th August 2009. Clinical data, platelet count and platelet requirements were analyzed. Among the 343 serologically confirmed cases, the prevalence of thrombocytopenia (platelet count < 100,000/cumm) was 64.72% (222 patients) and bleeding manifestations were recorded in 6.12% (21 patients). 71 (20.7%) patients of dengue cases received platelet transfusion. Among them 34 (47.89%) patients had a platelet count <20,000/cumm, 28 patients (39.44%) had platelet counts in the range of 21–40,000/cumm while the remaining 9 (12.67%) patients had platelet count between 41–100,000/cumm. Out of 37 patients with a platelet count >20,000/cumm 11 patients had haemorrhagic manifestations such as petechiae, gum bleeding, epistaxis etc., which necessitates the use of platelet transfusion. However, the remaining 26 patients with platelet count >20,000/cumm and with no haemorrhagic manifestations received inappropriate platelet transfusion. Transfusion of 36.62% of platelet concentrate was inappropriate. The study emphasizes the need for development of specific guidelines for transfusion of blood components, constant interaction and co-ordination amongst clinicians and transfusion centre for implementation of these guidelines and a regular medical audit to review the optimal utilization of blood components.