Health Watch - Donation and Transplants: Platelets

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This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about the importance of organ, tissue and blood donations. Previously, we talked about donating blood and how its components are needed to treat many illnesses. Platelets are particularly important.

Platelet transfusions are used to help control bleeding in patients who have had bone marrow transplants or are undergoing chemotherapy to treat cancer. Platelets have a very short shelf life, so there are frequently shortages.

But researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found that a lower dose of platelets could be used without the risk of increased bleeding. Doctors could also use a lower threshold of platelet concentration for determining when patients need a platelet transfusion. Dr. Victor Aquino, a UT Southwestern pediatrician and bone marrow transplant specialist, says this could make platelets available to more patients who need them.

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May 2010


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