SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.36 issue2Comments on: "Frequency of alleles and haplotypes of the human leukocyte antigen in Bauru, São Paulo"Comment on "Influence of βS-globin haplotypes and hydroxyurea on tumor necrosis factor-alpha levels in sickle cell anemia" author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand




Related links


Revista Brasileira de Hematologia e Hemoterapia

Print version ISSN 1516-8484

Rev. Bras. Hematol. Hemoter. vol.36 no.2 São José do Rio Preto Mar./Apr. 2014 

Scientific Comments

Comments on the clinical and laboratory characteristics of patients with dengue hemorrhagic fever manifestations and their transfusion profile

Romélia Pinheiro Gonçalves Lemes* 

1Universidade Federal do Ceará (UFC), Fortaleza, CE, Brazil

Transmitted by mosquitoes of the genus Aedes, dengue fever is a viral disease caused by one of four serotypes: DENV1, DENV2, DENV3 and DENV4.1 It is considered a public health problem worldwide. It is estimated that about 40 million symptomatic infections occur annually, of which about 2 million require hospitalization,2 resulting in about 20,000 deaths.3

The infection is characterized by a broad spectrum of clinical presentations, ranging from mild foot swelling to death.4 Thrombocytopenia is a prominent feature of infection.5 A platelet count less than 100 × 109/L is a diagnostic criterion for dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF).6 However, severe thrombocytopenia may be observed both in dengue fever (DF) and DHF. There is a significant negative correlation between disease severity and platelet count.7 Thrombocytopenia and hypofibrinogenemia are responsible for changes in hemostasis but are not considered predictive markers of hemorrhage.8 The cause of thrombocytopenia in dengue is multifactorial and not fully understood; the mechanisms involved are bone marrow suppression and peripheral platelet destruction. Peripheral immune complex mediated destruction is probably the main contributor to thrombocytopenia in dengue infection.8

The characteristic clinical manifestations of dengue are fever, headache, retro-orbital pain, general malaise, arthralgia, rash, pruritus, diarrhea, nausea, respiratory distress, dry cough, painful hepatomegaly, continuous abdominal pain, vomiting, postural dizziness, sweating, hypothermia and bleeding.9 Hemorrhagic manifestations, such as epistaxis, gingival bleeding, menorrhagia, gastrointestinal bleeding, intracranial bleeding, hematuria, effusions and spontaneous bleeding in places of venipuncture10 can be used as warning signs in the evolution of dengue.11 Among laboratory findings, an increase in hematocrit, leukopenia, relative lymphocytosis, atypical lymphocytes, low platelet count, prolonged prothrombin time (PT) and activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT) and increased serum aspartate aminotransferase (AST), serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT), alkaline phosphatase and serum gamma-glutamyl transferase (GT) range and decreased serum albumin may occur.9-11

Prophylactic transfusion of platelet concentrate (PC) is indicated in patients without any history of bleeding but with a platelet count lower than 20 × 109/L, and transfusion therapy in patients with chronic active bleeding and platelet count lower than 50 × 109/L.12 Several studies have shown that there is a correlation between the bleeding degree and the platelet count.13-15 The prevention of bleeding in DHF should be directed to the early recognition of shock and immediate correction with PC of and/or fresh frozen plasma (FFP) transfusions.13,16,17 The monitoring of hematocrit in series, which reflects the degree of plasma leakage, at the expense of monitoring thrombocytopenia and coagulopathies results in a reduction in the use of blood products.17 Fugimoto & Koifman, based on secondary data from patients with DHF admitted to hospitals in Rio Branco, Acre, reported that the clinical and laboratory profile of patients is similar to those described in the literature.18 As the transfusion of FFP and PC proved ineffective, there is currently limited support for the use of prophylactic PC transfusions in cases of dengue, despite its inclusion in some national guidelines. Therefore, it is necessary to conduct clinical trials to build an evidence base to guide the appropriate use of platelets in dengue. In summary, in the opinion of many authors prophylactic platelet transfusions in patients with stable dengue and without risk of bleeding can be avoided without affecting patient safety factors.


Simmons CP, Farrar JJ, Nguyen VV, Wills B. Dengue. N Engl J Med. 2012;366:1423-32. [ Links ]

Hales S, de Wet N, Maindonald J, Woodward A. Potential effect of population and climate changes on global distribution of dengue fever: an empirical model. Lancet. 2002;360:830-4. [ Links ]

Batt S, Gething PW, Brady OJ, Bhatt S, Gething PW, Brady OJ, et al.. 2013;496:504-7. [ Links ]

Teixeira MG, Barreto ML. Diagnosis and management of dengue. BMJ. 2009;339:b4338. [ Links ]

WHO: Comprehensive Guidelines for Prevention and Control of Dengue and Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever. WorldHealth Organization, Regional Office for South-East Asia, 2011. ]

Nimmannitya S. Clinical spectrum and management of dengue haemorrhagic fever. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health. 1987;18:392-7. [ Links ]

Mitrakul C, Poshyachinda M, Futrakul P, Sangkawibha N, Ahandrik S. Hemostatic and platelet kinetic studies in dengue hemorrhagic fever. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 1977;26(5 Pt 1):975-84. [ Links ]

Lee VJ, Lye DC, Fernandez G, Ong A, Leo SY. Predictive value of simple clinical and laboratory variables for dengue hemorrhagic fever in adults. J Clin Virol. 2008;42:34-9. [ Links ]

Kao CL, King CC, Chao DY, Wu HL, Chang GJ. Laboratory diagnosis of dengue virus infection: current and future perspectives in clinical diagnosis and public health. J Mibrobiol Immunol Infect. 2005;38:5-16. [ Links ]

Kittigul L, Pitakarnjanakul P, Sujirarat D, Siripanichgon K. The differences of clinical manifestation and laboratory findings in children and adults with dengue virus infection. J Clin Virol. 2007;39:76-81. [ Links ]

De Paula SO, Fonseca BA. Dengue: a review of the laboratory tests a clinician must know to achieve a correct diagnosis. Braz J Infect Dis. 2004;8:390-8. [ Links ]

World Health Organization (2009) Dengue: guidelines for diagnosis, treatment, prevention and control. World Health Organization; Geneva. pp 40-1. [ Links ]

Khan Assir MZ, Kamran U, Ahmad HI, Bashir S, Mansoor H, Anees SB, et al. Effectiveness of Platelet Transfusion in Dengue Fever: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Transfus Med Hemother. 2013;40:362-8. [ Links ]

Lye DC, Lee VJ, Sun Y, Leo YS. Lack of efficacy of prophylactic platelet transfusion for severe thrombocytopenia in adults with acute uncomplicated dengue infection. Clin Infect Dis. 2009;48:1262-5. [ Links ]

Krishnamurti C, Kalayanarooj S, Cutting MA, Peat RA, Rothwell SW, Reid TJ, et al. Mechanisms of haemorrhage in dengue without circulatory collapse. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2001;65:840-7. [ Links ]

Lum LC, Abdel-Latif Mel-A, Goh AY, Chan PW, Lam SK. Preventive transfusion in Dengue shock syndrome-is it necessary? J Pediatr.200;143:682-4. [ Links ]

Pallavi P, Ganesh CK, Jayashree K, Manjunath GV. Unfurling the Rationale Use of Platelet Transfusion in Dengue Fever. Indian J Hematol Blood Transfus. 2011;27:70-4. [ Links ]

Fujimoto DE, Koifman S. Clinical and laboratory characteristics of patients with dengue hemorrhagic fever manifestations and their transfusion profile. Rev Bras Hematol Hemoter. 2014;36:115-20. [ Links ]

See paper by Fujimoto DE et al. on pages 115-20.

*Corresponding author at: Hemocentro do Estado do Ceará Hospital Universitário Walter Cantídio Rua Capitão Francisco Pedro, 1210 Rodolfo Teófilo, 60430-370, Fortaleza, CE, Brazil E-mail address: (R. P. G. Lemes)

Conflicts of interest The author declares no conflicts of interest.

Creative Commons License © 2014 Associação Brasileira de Hematologia, Hemoterapia e Terapia Celular. Published by Elsevier Editora Ltda. All rights reserved.