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How fast can you transfuse platelets?

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Quick Answer

Platelets should be transfused at a rate of 10 milliliters per minute for approximately 30 minutes, explains the Department of Pathology at the University of Michigan Health System. Platelets are typically transfused in cases of severe bleeding in people with a low platelet count and should be transfused quickly to receive their full benefit.

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Full Answer

It is always important to reassess bleeding and take a platelet count after a transfusion. The normal platelet count is between 150,000 and 400,000 per cubic millimeter. The American Cancer Society explains that the risk of dangerous bleeding becomes elevated when the count drops below 20,000 per cubic millimeter.

Platelets originate in the bone marrow from cells called megakaryocytes. They are fragmented cells in the blood that become activated when bleeding occurs. A decrease in platelets can occur because of decreased production in the bone marrow, increased destruction in the bloodstream or an increased destruction by the liver or spleen, according to MedlinePlus.

Platelet counts can also be increased in a condition called thrombocytosis, notes MedlinePlus. This can be directly due to primary thrombocytosis or may occur secondary to anemia, infection, cancer, medication side effects, polycythemia vera or splenectomy. People with elevated platelet counts have an increased risk of forming blood clots, which leads to serious medical problems.

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