KOCHI: At a time when dengue fever cases are rising along with the demand for platelets, the NABH accredited Aluva district hospital blood bank is searching for a machine that segregates platelets from blood which prevents wastage of blood.
It is more than three years since the hospital requested the government to provide it with the apheresis machine that can separate platelets from other blood constituents. “Except the machine the infrastructure requirements are all available in the NABH accredited Blood Bank. But the long pending demand is still unattended to, and patients are running from pillar to post when in need of platelets," said Dr N. Vijayakumar, the medical officer in charge of the regional blood transfusion centre attached to the hospital.
"Platelets from one unit of blood raise the count by 5000-10,000 and the desired rise in the count in a patient is 50,000 which will require five to 10 donors. If the apheresis machine is used, eight units of platelets can be extracted from a person while without it, for eight units, eight donors will be needed. Exposure to antigens present in 8 donors will cause considerable damage to the immune system of the already sick patient and enhance the chances of transfusion-transmitted infections, and hence it is risky.”
Dr V. D. Anilkumar, the medical superintendent of the district hospital, said increased blood collection just to meet platelets needed leads to wastage of precious blood products like packed red blood cells and fresh frozen plasma. "The process of hemapheresis using the machine enables separation of the required platelets returning the remainder to the donor. The donor of platelets alone can donate twice a week whereas the whole blood donor has to wait for three months. The medical officer has undergone training in hemapheresis, and the blood bank has adequate space also. The centre caters to patients from Thrissur, Idukki, Kottayam and Alappuzha,” he said....