What are the Different Types of Platelet Treatment?

Eric Stolze

Doctors use different types of platelet treatment for medical conditions that are related to blood platelet cells. The body normally uses blood platelet cells to form blood clots and stop bleeding. In some cases, individuals with low blood platelet counts receive oral or intravenous medications to improve platelet levels. Platelet treatment with a platelet transfusion may be used to treat some patients with low platelet counts. People with narrowed blood vessels can experience abnormal blood clot formation that may be healed with an antiplatelet treatment.

Routine blood tests can reveal a high platelet count and prompt doctors to do a thorough investigation.
Routine blood tests can reveal a high platelet count and prompt doctors to do a thorough investigation.

Individuals with thrombocytopenia have abnormally low levels of blood platelets that can result from a malfunction in the body’s immune system that causes it to attack blood platelet cells. Patients with this condition may receive platelet treatment with steroid drugs to restrict the immune system’s attacks on platelet cells. Intravenous antibody and immunoglobulin transfusions have been used in some severe cases of autoimmune thrombocytopenia. Doctors may perform a splenectomy to remove a patient’s spleen and reduce immune system activity related to thrombocytopenia.

Abnormal blood clots are one target of platelet treatment.
Abnormal blood clots are one target of platelet treatment.

People with atherosclerosis have narrowed blood vessels that are typically susceptible to the development of blood clots. These clots can restrict or block blood circulation. Blockages from blood clots may cause heart attacks or strokes. Physicians may recommend that patients with narrowed arteries receive antiplatelet therapy to reduce the ability of blood platelets to form clots. In some cases, patients receive aspirin therapy or antiplatelet drugs to reduce clotting.

Patients with severe thrombocytopenia may experience uncontrolled blood loss if they start bleeding, even from a slight cut. Some individuals with this condition require platelet treatment with a transfusion of concentrated blood platelets to improve blood clotting ability and stop blood loss. Platelets that are used for transfusion are usually collected from donated blood.

Low blood platelet counts can result from several causes, including a viral infection of a patient’s bone marrow. People with aplastic anemia are unable to produce platelets or other types of blood cells from their bone marrow. Chemotherapy drugs and thiazide diuretic drugs may produce side effects that diminish the ability of the bone marrow to produce blood platelets.

Thrombocytopenia may not cause symptoms in mild forms of the disease, and some doctors only discover that a patient has the condition when they receive the results of a routine blood test. Increased bleeding from skin injuries and unusually heavy blood flow during menstruation can occur with this medical condition. Spontaneous bleeding may develop inside the body or in the skin. People with unusual bleeding or bruising often benefit from a visit to a doctor, where they may find the cause of abnormal bleeding and receive appropriate platelet treatment.

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