Platelets in state scarce, dengue patients hit

No stock

Government and private hospitals have very few stocks of platelets to be donated to patients needing transfusion.

With a spurt in dengue cases in the state, patients’ families are struggling to find platelets in blood banks and hospitals. Government and private hospitals have very few stocks of platelets to be donated to patients needing a transfusion. While a few cite lack of donor interest, others explain that high costs involved in the procedure are deterring them from stocking them.

Shivamogga has reported 176 cases of dengue this year. Yet, just 30 units of platelet concentrates are available in the district, all of which are in private blood banks. This is the platelet concentrate component, several of which would be required for a single patient. The district has no stock of plateletpheresis, which is for single donor donation, explained a doctor.

Karnataka has reported 982 cases of dengue with Shivamogga, Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Chikkamagaluru and Vijayapura reporting the most cases. Across the state, according to official data, there are just 38 units of plateletpheresis, all of which are in private blood banks in Bengaluru only.

Bengaluru has reported 1,041 cases of dengue according to the chief health officer of BBMP, Manoranjana Hegde. However, when DH contacted various blood banks in the city, they said they would arrange for platelets only when required and others also said that the patient attendees will have to bring along some suitable donors for the platelets to be extracted.

Even Victoria Hospital has no stock of platelets, said a staff member. “We have none left. Patients will have to source it from elsewhere. Doctors recommend single donor platelet (SDP) only,” said a staffer when DH contacted the blood bank. Swami Vivekananda Blood Bank had four units of platelets in the noon on Monday, all of which were already reserved for a patient.

Alphonse Kurian from the Lions Club who runs a group for blood donors explained that the Randon Donor Pooled Platelet (RDP) could be available at a lower cost while finding an SDP unit could be a challenge.

“Since RDP comes from multiple donors, most doctors do not recommend it as it can involve the blood of about six different people which means a large number of foreign bodies. The shelf life is just five days. SDP is taken and the transfusion is usually immediate,” he said. While RDP units are priced at about Rs 650, SDP costs over Rs 10,000.

The health department could not be reached for a reaction.

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