Low platelet count is one of the common features of viral infections. In most of cases the platelets reach to normal levels as soon as the infection subsides. However, in the case of Covid-19, doctors have come across patients who continue to show low platelet counts for weeks after recovery.
The doctors have pointed out in most of the cases that the decrease in platelets was marginal and didn’t require medical intrusion. But according some reports there are cases of patients coming with extremely low platelet counts necessitating medical management.
According to reports in media, Dr. Atul Gogia, senior consultant, internal medicine, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital said, “We saw three recovered patients recently with very low 10,000-20,000 platelets per microlitre of blood. One 85-year-old man had a count of 2,000 with extensive bleeding below the skin. All of them required medical management, including administration of steroids.”
“Drop in platelet count is common in patients with viral infections and so patients or their families shouldn’t panic in such situation. Moreover, severity of platelet drop is much less in COVID-19 as compared to other viral infections such as dengue or malaria. We have seen only a handful of patients who required platelet transfusion during the pandemic. Doctors continuously monitor and manage the platelet count and COVID-19 doesn’t result in hazardous drop in the platelet count of patients,” said Dr Hemlata Arora, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine and Infectious DIseases, Nanavati Max Super Speciality Hospital.
Nearly 20% of the recovered Covid-19 patients have platelet counts in the range of 1,00,000 to 1,50,000, which is low but this doesn’t necessitate any medication reports say.
“We should worry only if the platelet count reduces to 50,000 or less or if there is bleeding from the gums or the nose.” Dr Naveen Dang, consultant microbiologist and founder of Dr Dang’s Lab, said he had also seen many patients who continued to have platelets in the range of 1-1.5 lakh per microlitre of blood for weeks after recovering from the coronavirus infection. “It is not something to be scared of,” he assured.
Platelets are one of the cellular components of the blood along with white and red blood cells. They play an important role in clotting and bleeding.
According to a study, Platelets are said to play an important role in inflammatory role as well as in the infectious response of COVID-19. An analysis of 7,613 COVID-19 patients revealed that patients with severe COVID had a lower platelet count than those with the non-severe disease. Moreover, mild Thrombocytopenia was also detected in those who had severe cases of COVID-19 in the month of April, that is those patients with a lower platelet count.
Last year, scientists from China reported a case in which a 49-year-old woman showed a very low platelet count for nearly four months after recovering from non-severe Covid. They attributed it to the damage suffered by the immune system during the corona infection.