5 Uses Of Blood Platelets In Patients

5 Uses Of Blood Platelets In Patients

Blood platelets are very small fragments that circulate in the bloodstream along with RBCs and WBCs. They work with clotting factors in the plasma to form blood clots in order to stop or prevent bleeding.

Plasma is the fluid portion of the blood. It comprises protein, salt, antibodies and coagulation factors. White blood cells (WBCs) fight harmful germs and prevent infection. Red blood cells (RBCs) transport oxygen from the lungs into the tissues.

Most platelet donations are given to patients who are not capable to produce sufficient platelet count in the bone marrow. For instance, patients with leukemia or other diseases where very little platelet amounts is being produced due to the disease or treatment process.

Also, after major surgery or extensive personal injury, the individual may require the need for transfusions of blood platelets to replace for blood loss brought about by bleeding. Because platelets can only be stored for a few days, regular and frequent donors are in great demand.


Process of Platelet Donation

blood platelets donationDuring the procedure, blood is withdrawn from the donor’s vein and mixed with an anticoagulant in order to prevent it from clotting. The blood will be put under a process that separates the platelets. The rest of the blood is returned, which is why it is safe for you to donate at significantly a higher frequency than whole blood in the process.

Any leukocytes that remain in the donated platelet are also removed since they can cause problems in the recipient although harmless to donor. All the tubes that the blood comes in contact with are sterile and disposable. There is therefore almost zero risk of ‘catching’ any infection.

Also, upon return of the blood, air detectors ensure that none of the sterile air is present as the collection gets passed into the vein. If the detector identifies any air, the conditioner will automatically shut down and can be restarted only when the air has been removed.

Blood Platelets

Platelets are used in patients who are bleeding due to the reduced number of platelets or because of their impaired function.

The most common are:

  • Patients on chemo and radiotherapy,
  • Patients who are suffering from congenital disorders of platelet function,
  • Patients hypersensitive to any medications,
  • Patients with chronic renal failure,
  • Patients who had open-heart surgery.

Congenital Disorders On Platelet Function:

Below are some cases of congenital disorders where patient may need platelets.

• Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome

blood platelets wiskott aldrichIt is a hereditary disorder of the immune system (immunodeficiency), which is characterized by the triad of recurrent pyogenic bacterial infections, eczema (atopiclike dermatitis) and skin hemorrhagic coagulation disorders (caused by thrombocytopenia and platelet dysfunction).

The cause is a mutation in a gene on the X chromosome (X-linked recessive disease mode of inheritance). The treatment includes bone marrow transplant, symptomatic therapy, prophylaxis of infections, immunoglobulins, corticosteroids (eczema), transfusion of blood and blood derivatives (bleeding) and gene therapy.

A hematopoietic stem cell transcplant is the only current hope of cure.

• Fanconi anemia

blood platelets fanconi anemiaFanconi anemia is one of the most common rare genetic disease that usually involves the bone marrow where an impaired labor (inability to produce blood cells) is evident.

Moreover, this form of anemia is often associated with birth defects, tendency of bleeding, frequent appearance of liver tumors, short stature, myelodysplastic syndrome (blood stem cells – immature cells – do not become mature blood cells) in about 60-75% of patients.

Also, in this form of anemia, there are possible notable anomalies like ectopic kidney, pelvic kidney, hydronephrosis and hydroureter, open ductus arteriosus, aortic stenosis, coarctation of aorta, missing lobes of the lungs, atrial septal defect, tetralogy of Fallot, pseudotruncus, and other problems in the development such as Bell’s palsy, arterial malformations of brain tissue.

With over 99% of cases, the disorder is inherited in an autosomal recessive way, which means there are two copies of the abnormal gene so the disease manifested.

Statistical data indicate that the Fanconi anemia occurs approximately every 300,000 people, which makes the condition quite rare. Some data show that the carriers are rather common in the general population and that it is almost present for every 200 person.

The male to female ratio is 2:1, making it more common on the side of men. This disease is diagnosed usually before 7 years of age. About 9% are diagnosed in adults. The median age of onset for megaloblastic anemia (first detected abnormality) is seven years.

Symptoms of Fanconi anemia are:
  • A short stature and skin pigmentation during childhood
  • The first sign of blood disorders are petechiae (small red spots on the skin caused by minor bleeding from broken capillary blood vessels) and easy bruising
  • A later onset is pallor, susceptibility to infections, fatigue and body malaise
  • Abnormalities of the hands and forearms
  • In every third patient, there are disorders of the reproductive organs and the gonads (such as hypospadias, undescended testicles, atrophic testes, azoospermia, phimosis, micropenis, in males while, bicornuate “heart-shaped” uterus, atrophy of the vagina, in females)
  • Disorders of the vision occur about 20%
  • Developmental disorders of the kidneys and urinary tract occurs about 20%
  • About 22% displays microcephaly (reduced volume and size of the skull), some hydrocephalus; micrognathia (snoffiness)
  • There may also be spina bifida (split spine), Klippel–Feil syndrome (congenital fusion of 2 cervical vertebrae), supernumerary (extra) ribs, and Sacrococcygeal sinuses
  • Congenital dislocation of the hip (Perthes’ disease)
  • Hearing disorder occurs about 10%
  • In every tenth patient appears slow development (intellectual and development delay)
  • The treatment of choice is a bone marrow transplant and frequent blood transfusions.

Radiation Therapy:

Radiation therapy can complicate the development of thrombocytopenia.

Damage appears in the bone marrow affecting megakaryocytes prior to the circulation of blood platelets.

Thrombocytopenia usually occurs 7-10 days after radiotherapy.

Dilutional Thrombocytopenia:

This is a frequent cause for the development of thrombocytopenia in hospitalized patients that have lost a significant amount of blood.

Aggressive application of intravenous transfusion that results to a drop in blood platelets.

Chronic Renal Disease:

Chronic Renal Disease, also called chronic renal failure, describe as the gradual loss of renal function. The kidneys filter waste and excess fluid from the blood, which is then excreted in the urine.

When a chronic kidney disease reaches an advanced stage, dangerous levels of fluid, electrolytes and waste can build up in the body.

In the early stages of chronic kidney disease, there may be a couple of notable signs or symptoms.

Chronic kidney disease may not become obvious until the renal function is considerably impaired.

The treatment for chronic kidney disease focuses on slowing the progression of kidney damage, typically by controlling the cause.

Chronic kidney disease may advance into kidney failure terminal stages, which is fatal without artificial filtering (dialysis) or kidney transplant.


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