Platelet infusion procedure


Please forgive me if I’m in the wrong tag but I’m trying to find out what the exact procedure for platelet infusion is?

I don’t have enough knowledge of this. Like what is the minimum platelet number before platelets are administered?

What other substances are also used prior or post to infusion?

Should this ever be painful?

How many doses should you have at once?

Once you have started chemotherapy how often is an infusion likely to be needed?

Is this usually done within the same unit or on the same day?


Hi @Hellodolly Lots of questions which I will copy to the Blood Cancer UK nurse advisors @BloodCancerUK_Nurses for you.
Look after yourself and please do keep posting, the unknown is scary


Platelets come in a bag similar size to a blood transfusion.
They are creamy in colour
Takes around 15-30 minutes via a cannula and painless
Platelets usually rise once you receive them
Your bloods will be monitored for drops

Chemotherapy wise I had to have platelets a couple times through my salvage treatment in 2017
I had them again when I had a stem cell transplant

I haven’t had to have platelets through my latest chemo 2021-22
I did have platelets with my second transplant

I have myeloma which in itself can cause low platelets
My platelets very rarely go above 154

I will add a link

This is what they look like


Good Afternoon @Hellodolly
You have been given some great advice here already!
Platelet transfusions are given when the platelet count drops below a safe level. When this happens you are more likely to have bruising and sometimes bleeding. A platelet transfusion is given to top up your platelet level and prevent these things from happening.
There isn’t any ‘one size fits all’ with this and your treating team will decide when you require a transfusion - you can always ask them what level they are aiming for.
Usually the platelets are transfused via a cannula over 20-30 mins and this should not be painful, however you should look out for anything that feels unusual for you and alert the nurses if anything feels different - occasionally platelets can cause an allergic reaction, to monitor for this you will have your observations (BP, Temp, pulse) checked before and after the transfusion so you will be closely monitored throughout.
The amount of bags you receive will once again depend on the reason for the transfusion but your treating team should be able to tell you in advance how many you will have.
Blood counts during chemotherapy vary from person to person and your transfusion requirements will depend on the blood test results throughout - but rest assured transfusions can usually be arranged and delivered relatively quickly in most hospitals.
Do discuss the process with your treating team so you can be well informed before the treatment begins.
I hope this information is helpful, please do let us know if we can be of any further support, you can always call us on 0808 2080 888 and speak to one of the nursing team.
Best Wishes,
Heidi J (Support Services Nurse)


Thank you so much for your help. The link to the page about platelets was excellent.

My partner has chronic mylomonocytic leukaemia very recently diagnosed, his platelet count has not been above 56 in the last two months and this count was only achieved with two infusions prior to a procedure in hospital.

On Monday it was down to 12 and after waiting several hours a bag was connected for infusion, unfortunately after just a few minutes it began to be extremely painful and was described as “my entire skeleton was on fire” fortunately the doctor was available and stopped the infusion immediately and administered pain relief.
I wonder if they made a mistake in the procedure?


Sorry to hear that @Hellodolly, that must have been very scary for him, and for you! I am glad that he had medical attention immediately. It would be worth having a chat to the team as to what they think happened and how they will manage his next transfusions.
Occasionally pre-medications may be given to stop a platelet reaction so this might be something that is considered in the future but it is worth having that conversation so you can be prepared for the next transfusion, if and when one is needed.

Best Wishes,
Heidi J (Support Services Nurse)


I had a platelet infusion before surgery in 2022 and I had a horrible allergic reaction 9 minutes in. Everything went wrong - blood pressure went down to 60/30, temperature spiked, then I got chills and convulsions and the nurse thought I blacked out for a while. I also felt like my heart was going to explode. The nurses told me it was the worst reaction they’d seen in 20 years.

I don’t mean to be scary - this was just my experience. My surgery to have a double mastectomy was cancelled. It was a preventative surgery due to my having the BRCA1 variant. The Doctor called back a couple of days later to see if I wanted to try again. I said no! I really felt like my body was shutting down. No one had a explanation as to why this happened. Now I get a mammogram and a breast MRI every year and there is no cancer.

I’m on chemotherapy for Essential thrombocythemia (ET) - along with my Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) diagnosis. I am just hoping I will not require surgery in the future.

I am so sorry your partner went through such pain. It is indeed frightening.