Platelets are small disc shaped cells that are usually a cloudy yellow colour.(1)
Platelets play a crucial role in the body:(1)
They assist with the forming of blood clots
Platelets are transfused to patients who are:(1)
Unable to produce enough platelets for themselves
Low in platelet numbers and are at risk of bleeding, or
There are no alternatives to a platelet transfusion. Some supportive care however, can help to minimise the risk of bleeding.
All transfusions should be planned during business hours, whenever possible.
Only emergency transfusions should take place after hours.
The transfusion will be given through an IV, also known as a drip, a soft plastic tube in either your arm or hand.
A platelet transfusion can be given as fast as is tolerated, usually over 30 to 60 minutes in adults.(2)
One dose of platelets should not be transfused over a period longer than 4 hours.(2)
Adverse reactions are rare but can occur.
Types of reactions that may be experienced include:(2)
Mild allergy: Symptoms can include hives, rash or itching.
Febrile: Symptoms can include fever accompanied with chills and shaking.
Acute haemolytic: Symptoms can include shaking, fever, pain at the IV site, low blood pressure, unexplained bleeding, fast or irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath and decreased urine production.
Transfusion-related Acute Lung Injury (TRALI): symptoms can include chills, fever, shortness of breath; respiratory failure and fluid build up in the lungs.
Severe allergy: Symptoms can include flushing, wheezing, low blood pressure or anaphylaxis.
You should notify your healthcare professional if you experience any of the symptoms listed above during or after your transfusion.
All blood components in Australia come from voluntary, unpaid donors attending the Australian Red Cross Blood Service.
Donors undergo a careful screening process to ensure that is appropriate for them to donate blood.
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