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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 103-108

Role of red cell and platelet indices as a predictive tool for transfusions in dengue

Department of Transfusion Medicine, Manipal Hospital, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ambuja Kantharaj
Department of Transfusion Medicine, Manipal Hospital, Bengaluru, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/GJTM.GJTM_39_18

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Review of literature and prevalent practices show the importance of red cell indices, especially hematocrit(HCT )in the diagnosis and prognosis of dengue. Platelet indices also may act as a tool to assess the prognosis and decide on the need for red cell and platelet transfusions in dengue. Platelet indices such as platelet count, mean platelet volume (MPV), platelet distribution width (PDW), and plateletcrit (PCT) are simple indices which can be done by any 3-part differential cell counter. However, immature platelet fraction (IPF) can be done only at advanced centres using more advanced cell counters. In dengue fever, red cell indices give indirect information on whether the patient is bleeding or going into impending shock. An increased HCT suggests haemoconcentration and warrants treatment with bolus IV fluids while a decreased HCT in an unstable patient may indicate bleeding and act as a predictor for red cell transfusions, whereas it suggests recovery from disease in a stable patient. Platelet counts have no role in determining need for transfusion in dengue. Platelet indices give information on whether the platelet destruction is ongoing (necessitating an impending platelet transfusion) or whether the bone marrow is responsive and platelet transfusions can be put on hold. An increase MPV with falling platelets implies destruction of platelet and signals need for platelet transfusion while a decrease in MPV with low platelets <20,000/ul coupled with hemorrhagic tendency warrant need for red cell transfusions. An increase in IPF suggestive of responsive marrow and platelet transfusions could be possibly put on hold. Low platelet count, low MPV, low PCT, high PDW, and high P-LCR may be used as probable indicators for dengue in endemic area and also as a predictor of severity of dengue infection. However Platelet indices are still underutilised parameters both by the laboratory personnel as well as the clinicians due to various reasons like variability or lack of standardization in testing and reporting. Further platelet indices are not specific for (or predictive of) any particular pathological condition and large epidemiological, randomized, control studies are needed to establish utility of these parameters in dengue beyond doubt.

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