The washing of platelets removes the plasma and proteins from blood products. Picture for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Pixabay

Dubai: Abu Dhabi Health Services Company, (Seha), the UAE’s largest health care network, has introduced the first of its kind procedure to transfuse washed platelets.

The procedure was carried in a patient with very low platelet count. The person had experienced an anaphylactic shock when transfused with platelets. An anaphylactic shock is a sudden and severe allergic reaction characterised by a marked drop in blood pressure, shortness of breath, and a significant decrease in oxygen saturation.

Washing platelets before transfusion

The washing of platelets provided by donors, a procedure performed by Abu Dhabi Blood Bank Services (ADBBS), removes the plasma and proteins from blood products, significantly reducing the risk of allergic transfusion reactions.

Minimising chances of allergic reactions

Dr Saad Muhallab, Medical Director, ADBBS — Al Ain, said: “Five minutes following the start of platelets transfusion, the patient presented with symptoms consistent with an anaphylactic reaction. This extremely rare reaction is caused by the presence of antibodies to a protein that is deficient in the patient’s blood due to hereditary causes. Patients who react like this to platelets transfusion must only be given washed platelets free from plasma containing proteins to caveat a reoccurrence.”

Experts at ADBBS — Al Ain quickly adopted a new protocol for washing of blood platelets provided by donors and administering them to the patient in record time, to which the patient responded well. Following the procedure, the patient’s platelet count returned to the optimal range. “To ensure we meet this patient’s and others acute and ongoing demand for platelet transfusions, ADBBS has now adopted a platelet washing protocol, which requires two and a half hours for preparation. With the appropriate expertise and a validated protocol in place, we catered for the patient’s daily needs of washed platelets for two weeks and will be able to quickly react to any future cases of similar reactions,” added Dr. Muhallab.