Purpose: To define the period of greater vulnerability of bleeding in patients with Dengue fever in reference to the onset of their constitutional symptoms and the laboratory abnormalities.
Patients and methods: In a retrospective study we reviewed the records of all patients admitted to San Pablo Medical Center in 1991 with a diagnosis of Dengue Fever or Hemorrhagic Dengue. All patients with a platelet count of less than 125,000 were included for analysis. The exclusion criteria included the presence of systemic disorders which may influence the platelet count, and patients without documentation regarding the presence of constitutional symptoms suggestive of viral illness.
Results: A total of 101 patients were analyzed of which only 74 were included in the study. All patients had fever and chills; skin rash, asthenia and general malaise was seen in over 50% of patients. Over 70% of patients had recovery of their platelet count, and most had their maximal thrombocytopenia within the 5th day and 8th day from the onset of constitutional symptoms. Leukopenia was seen in over 70% of patients with its lowest level within the 5th and 8th day from the onset of the constitutional symptoms. Significantly prolonged partial thromboplastin time was seen in 11% of the patients. Proteinuria was seen in 22% of the patients, 38% of which had it within the first 4 days of the onset of constitutional symptoms and also noted on the 5th and 6th day. Alteration in liver enzymes were noted in 47% of patients, with a maximal severity distributed in all time frames. Hypoalbuminemia was present in 28% of the patients, of these 67% presented within the first 4 days from the onset of constitutional symptoms. The pulse rate was usually normal in spite of the patient's dehydration and fever.
Conclusions: We identified three phases that define the sequence of events seen in the majority of patients with Dengue Fever and Thrombocytopenia. These are: 1. proteinuria and hypoalbuminemia; 2. maximal cytopenia; 3. bradycardia and liver enzyme elevation. We believe this information is useful in the management of patients with Dengue Fever and thrombocytopenia.