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Lung Transplantation

Low platelets

03/18/2008

Question:

My father had a double lung transplant in 2003. Just as of recent (Jan) his platelets are very low, as in down to 4000, Yesterday they had gone up to 16000 and by a few hours had went down again. He is in Critical Care again, he has blood and platelets being giving to him, his spline was taken out and it seemed to help for a few weeks. Basically we are stumped at this point, as well as the doctors at our Hospital. I dont doubt any ability of any of our doctors but I am sharing this in hopes there has been a similar case as to my fathers so that we can gain some more insight. His platelets just keep going away as fast as they are being given to him. We are asking anyone out there to shed some light and hopefully has any info. on my fathers medical mystery before it is to late.

Thank You

Answer:

Most hematologic abnormalities (including low platelet counts) that are observed following lung transplantation are usually due to the side effects experienced from taking certain medications.  Of course, just as in patients who have not received an organ transplant, low platelet counts can be the result of other disease processes that need to be considered.  Among these are thrombotic thrombocytopenia purpura (TTP), disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), and occult malignancies.

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Response by:

David  R Nunley, MD, FCCP David R Nunley, MD, FCCP
Former Associate Professor
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University