Medical Q&As

Platelet count - transfusion necessary?

My consultant requires me to have blood transfusions because my platelets are reading 20,000 instead of 300,000. Why is this necessary?

Thrombocytopaenia is the technical term for a low platelet count. Platelets have an important role in the clotting process and if their numbers are deficient spontaneous bleeding can occur. When the platelet count drops below 20,000 there is a significantly increased risk of bleeding from any site in the body. This bleeding might be obvious and present as bruising of the skin, bleeding from the gums or even vaginal bleeding. However, the bleeding might not be immediately apparent and remain concealed. For example an intracranial bleed or bleeding inside the skull might not be immediately apparent until catastrophic consequences have ensued. Mild to moderate reductions in the platelet count can be safely observed and left untreated especially if the person is well and asymptomatic. However, in the case of the count falling below 20,000 the general consensus would be that a platelet transfusion is required in order to prevent serious bleeding. The potential consequences are simply too serious to ignore.