• Vol. 40 No. 12, 539–545
  • 15 December 2011

When Less is More: Can We Abandon Prophylactic Platelet Transfusion in Dengue Fever?



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Dengue fever (DF) has several hematological manifestations including thrombocytopenia and increased bleeding risk. Prophylactic platelet transfusion—in the absence of major bleeding—is utilized in DF with thrombocytopenia with the intention of preventing hemorrhagic complications. However, prophylactic platelet transfusion in DF is neither standardized nor supported by clinical evidence. We conclude that risks, costs and poor resource utilization associated with prophylactic platelet transfusion in DF far outweigh any potential hematological benefit, and as such, should not constitute routine clinical practice.

Dengue fever (DF) is the most common mosquito-borne human viral illness worldwide, and has rapidly spread to reach hyper-endemic proportions in the urban tropics over the last quarter of a century. With an estimated 2.5 billion people at risk and a global annual incidence of 50 million cases, DF has been identified as an example of a potential international public health emergency.

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