Platelet deficiency is not the cause of death in people suffering from Dengue.

According to International guidelines, unless a patient’s platelet count is below 10,000, and there is spontaneous, active bleeding, no platelet transfusion is required. The outbreak of Dengue in the city and Hospital beds are full and families are seen running around in search for platelets for transfusion. However what most people donot realize is that the first line of treatment for Dengue is not platelet transfusion. It, in fact, does more harm than good if used in a patient whose counts are above 10,000.

The primary cause of death in patients suffering from dengue is capillary leakage, which causes blood deficiency in the intravascular compartment, leading to multi-organ failure. At the first instance of plasma leakage from the intravascular compartment to the extravascular compartment, fluid replacement amounting to 20ml per kg body weight per hour must be administered. This must be continued till the difference between the upper and lower blood pressure is over 40mmHg, or the patient passes adequate urine. This is all that is required to treat the patient. Giving unnecessary platelet transfusion can make the patient more unwell.

“While treating dengue patients, physicians should remember the ‘Formula of 20’ i.e. rise in pulse by more than 20; fall of BP by more than 20; difference between lower and upper BP of less than 20 and presence of more than 20 hemorrhagic spots on the arm after a torniquet test suggest a high-risk situation and the person needs immediate medical attention.”

Dengue fever is painful mosquito-borne disease. It is caused by any one of the 4 types of Dengue virus, which is transmitted by the bite of an infected female Aedes aegypti mosquito. Common symptoms of dengue include high fever, runny nose, a mild skin rash, cough, and pain behind the eyes and in the joints. However, some people may develop a red and white patchy skin rash followed by loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, etc. Patients suffering from dengue should seek medical advice, rest and drink plenty of fluids. Paracetamol can be taken to bring down fever and reduce joint pains. However, aspirin or ibuprofen shoul not be taken since they can increase the risk of bleeding.

The risk of complications is in less than 1% of dengue cases and, if warning signals are known to the public, all deaths from dengue can be avoided. DENGUE NS1 – Best test is NS1. Cannot be false positive. Is + from day 1 to 7 ideally. If on day 1 is -ve, repeat it next day. Always ask for ELISA based NS1 tests as card tests are misleading.

Value of IgG and IgM dengue – In a patient with reduced platelets and looking sick on day 3 or 4 of illness, a very high titre of IgG with borderline rise in IgM signifies secondary dengue. These patients are more prone to complications. In primary dengue IgG becomes + at end of 7 days, while IgM is + after day 4.

Immature Platelet Fraction/ IPF – A very useful test in Dengue for patients with Thrombocytopenia. If IPF in such a patient is >10%, despite a paltelet count of 20,000 he is out of danger and platelets will rise in 24hrs. If it is 6%, repeat the same next day. Now if IPF has increased to 8% his platelets will certainly increase in 48hrs. If it is less than 5%, then his bone marrow will not respond for 3-4 days and may be a likely candidate for platelet transfusion. Better to do an IPF even with borderline low platelet count.

A low Mean Platelet Volume / MPV means platelets are functionally inefficient and such patients need more attention.

Some of the Homoeopathic medicines like Eupatorium Perf., Gelsemium, Carica Papaya, Bryonia Alba, Tinospora Cordifolia, Rhus Tox., Crotalus Horridus, Tri-Nitro Toluene, etc. have been found to be extremely effective depending upon the stage of Dengue fever.

To know more about Dengue visit –

Click on the link to listen to Dr. A. K. Gupta’s radio talk on “Dengue, Malaria and Chikungunya”.

DISCLAIMER: The information on this blog is for News Reporting and Educational Purposes Only.

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