Platelet transfusions are the first course of treatment for any aplastic anemia patient who is severely deficient in these blood cells. Platelet transfusions reduce the high risk these patients have of suffering a fatal hemorrhage. Transfusions of red blood cells can help combat the fatigue and shortness of breath experienced by aplastic anemia patients.
Because the average life span of white blood cells is less than a day, these cells are not transfused. Instead, aplastic anemia patients are closely monitored for signs of infections and are given antibiotics when appropriate. Transfusions may quickly stabilize aplastic anemia patients with severe blood cell deficiencies, but it is very rare for a patient to achieve a long-term recovery using this form of treatment alone.
Aplastic anemia patients are often given transfusions. Anemia is corrected by red cell transfusions. Since anemia in itself is not an emergency, red cell transfusions are usually given only when symptoms are not relieved by restriction of activity. By contrast, bleeding due to low platelets is an acute medical emergency that should be treated with platelet transfusions to prevent fatal hemorrhage.
You may be asked to provide platelet donors. Do not ask close family members to donate platelets until after a bone marrow transplant has been done or ruled out since this may interfere with the effectiveness of a bone marrow transplant if a family member donor is found.
Find out more about: Medications for Aplastic Anemia
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