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High Number of Dengue Cases Leave Blood Banks Short of Platelets

High incidence of dengue cases in the city this season has kept the city blood banks on their toes for last two months. They are finding it hard to maintain the supply as per the demand. Since only four blood banks in the city have apheresis technology to separate platelets directly from human blood during the donation, the load on these four banks is very high. Dr Harish Warbhe, MD of Lifeline Blood Bank, told TOI that his bank has the highest turnover. The shortage is also maximum here. “We are refusing at least 5-10 percent of patients despite having two apheresis machines. The demand is so high that all the four blood banks that have apheresis machine are not able to meet the need,” he said. Somehow, the demand is being met by calling registered donors or patient’s relatives for blood donation in emergency. The platelets can be stored maximum for five days but no banks have enough to store the platelets.

Dr Warbhe said that there are two ways of platelets extraction. The first way — Random Donor Platelet Concentrate (RDPC) — involves removal of 350-450 whole blood and processing it to remove platelets from it. This does not allow enough platelets to be generated in a single day. In the second method, called as the Single Platelet Donor Concentrate (SDPC), 5 liters of blood is processed continuously in a single donor through apheresis (Process by which a single blood component can be directly removed out of the body and the rest of blood can be sent back into the body). In SDPC, 250 ml platelets can be generated at one go whereas in RPDC, only 50-60 ml platelets can be extracted. SPDC is, therefore, the most preferred way. It is also termed as the ideal platelet therapy when it is administered at one go. One unit of platelets costs around ₹11,000. “A whole donor can donate blood only after three months whereas a SDPC donor can donate every four days,” said Dr Warbhe.

Dr Sheela Mundhada of Jeevan Jyoti Blood Bank said that she hasn’t sent patients back but had to delay the delivery of platelets or arrange it from other banks at that point of time. “But yes, there is shortage of platelets due to dengue patients,” she said. Dr Pravin Gadkari of Ayush Blood bank too admitted that he is calling the registered donors for platelets from last two months. “There is no question of storing. It is all on demand the same day,” he said. Dr Ashok Patki, in-charge of Hedgewar Blood Bank, said that though there is huge demand, his bank is able to keep up with the demand as it has recently installed a platelet Donor Cross Match machine costing ₹70 lakh. “Of course, we too have to call donors and extract platelets on time as there is nothing available in stored form,” he said. – TOI