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Thread: Low Platelet Count and Mechanical Valve

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    Louisiana
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    Default Low Platelet Count and Mechanical Valve

    Hi.
    I found out today that my platelet count was 98,000 which is sort of low. My doc said that this is probably due to the mechanical aortic valve that I have. Has anyone heard of this before? He had the lab do another blood test this morning and I am still waiting for the results. I am very healthy and everything else on the blood work looked fine. Any thoughts? Thanks in Advance.
    AVR/Aortic Root Reconstruction---University of Alabama-Birmingham on April 15, 2005

  2. #2
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    Default

    Apparently the action of the mechanical valve can break certain components of the blood. I think that platelets are one of them. Other, more knowlegeable ones, should be along shortly, but that is a quick answer for you.
    AVR September 6th, 2007 at age 52; Carbomedics/Sorin mechanical, model #R500, size 23
    Hamilton General Hospital - Dr. Semelhago - "Da Best"
    bicuspid; murmur diagnosed 1985 - warfarin, beta-blocker, BP pill

  3. #3
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    Yes, my husband had low platelets quite often. He had two mechanicals, one of which was quite an old model. He also had other anemia problems.

    He was on prescription strength folic acid, iron pills and ProCrit injections which I gave him 3 times per week.

    But sometimes, the low platelets showing up can be a result of letting the vial of blood hang around too long in the lab before testing it, and it can start clumping which throws everything off. So there were times when his doctors ordered another test (STAT) to make sure.

    Eventually, he was under the care of a hematologist who had a lab right in his office and the tests were much more reliable, but he still needed lots of help with his blood levels.

    You may not be as bad as my husband, and it is possible that with the next test things will have straightened out.

    Low platelets caused Joe to develop spontaneous purple spots on his hands, and other bruising.

    If it continues and becomes a problem, I think a consult with a hematologist is a good idea.

  4. #4
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by T-Money View Post
    Hi.
    I found out today that my platelet count was 98,000 which is sort of low. My doc said that this is probably due to the mechanical aortic valve that I have. Has anyone heard of this before? He had the lab do another blood test this morning and I am still waiting for the results. I am very healthy and everything else on the blood work looked fine. Any thoughts? Thanks in Advance.
    I have low platelets, was evaluated by a hematologist years ago, which included a bone marrow biopsy to make sure it wasn't something else. They do not know why I have this problem, except that my platelets are coated by an anti-body which means my immune system attacks them. When I get sick, my count can drop. I never dipped below 115K. I also take coumadin so prior to my surgery, I saw an excellent hematologist here in Austin, to ensure my stability and discuss coumadin effects with platelets.

    When I went for my post op visit with him, my platelets actually rose to 168K with aspirin therapy. We were both pleasantly surprised as my count had not been that high in years! I asked if my defective valve could have been causing my platelet issues. He said it was possible as valves effect red blood cells. Post op it's usually the red blood cells that are destroyed by the mechanical valve. That's why you can develop anemia post op. I have not had a problem with this so far.

    Things to keep in mind: Aspirin and all non-steroidal meds effect your platelets. Aspirin puts your platelets to sleep for 10 days. This can also cause more bruising. I have been advised that if my platelets were to drop to 75K, they would have to intervene because I'm on coumadin. All types of medication can effect your platelets, it's important to monitor your platelet count, and make sure nothing more serious is going on.

    Illness can lower your platelet count. If you have an infection, that may be the cause.

    My husband also has a platelet issue, he is monitored regularly, every 6 months, by a hematologist. They do blood counts first, see the hematologist second, all in one visit. His problem was caused by being exposed to some type of toxin, yet we can't identify what toxin caused this. His count hovers in the 90s. He has not had any serious problems so far.
    AVR-November 14, 2007
    23mm On-X Prosthetic Heart Valve
    Home Test since Jan 2008, Coagucheck XS
    "Everyone has a best friend during each stage of life-only a precious few have the same one."
    By: Unknown

  5. #5
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    Hemolysis is a known performance issue with older mechanical valve designs. What kind of valve did you receive?

    Here is the first part of what Wikipedia has to say on the subject of Hemolytic Anemia

    Hemolytic anemia
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Hemolytic anemia is anemia due to hemolysis, the abnormal breakdown of red blood cells (RBCs) either in the blood vessels (intravascular hemolysis) or elsewhere in the body (extravascular). It has numerous possible causes, ranging from relatively harmless to life-threatening. The general classification of hemolytic anemia is either acquired or inherited. Treatment depends on the cause and nature of the breakdown.

    In a healthy person, a red blood cell survives 90 to 120 days in the circulation, so about 1% of human red blood cells break down each day. The spleen (part of the reticulo-endothelial system) is the main organ which removes old and damaged RBCs from the circulation. In healthy individuals, the breakdown and removal of RBCs from the circulation is matched by the production of new RBCs in the bone marrow.

    In conditions where the rate of RBC breakdown is increased, the body initially compensates by producing more RBCs; however, breakdown of RBCs can exceed the rate that the body can make RBCs, and so anemia can develop. Bilirubin, a breakdown product of hemoglobin, can accumulate in the blood causing jaundice, and be excreted in the urine causing the urine to become a dark brown colour.

    See Wikipedia for "the rest of the story"
    and/or Google "Hemolysis"

  6. #6
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    Louisiana
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    Default Thanks!!!

    Hi All.
    Thanks for the speedy replies. I received my valve in 2005, but it is one of the older St. Jude models (whichever one has been around for 15-20 years and is considered super reliable--Master's Series or Regent I think). I will update everyone tomorrow when my 2nd blood panel comes back. Hopefully it is one of those issues of sitting in the vial too long. Again, thanks everyone!!!!
    AVR/Aortic Root Reconstruction---University of Alabama-Birmingham on April 15, 2005

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by T-Money View Post
    Hi All.
    Thanks for the speedy replies. I received my valve in 2005, but it is one of the older St. Jude models (whichever one has been around for 15-20 years and is considered super reliable--Master's Series or Regent I think). I will update everyone tomorrow when my 2nd blood panel comes back. Hopefully it is one of those issues of sitting in the vial too long. Again, thanks everyone!!!!
    Quite a few things cause low platelets, have you noticed any more bruising than normal ect? I think if it was related to your valve at all, hemolysis, all of your blood counts would be lowered, red, white, ect and not just the platelets.
    Lyn
    Mom to Justin 25 TGA,VSDs, pulmonary atresia/stenosis ect, post/Rastelli, 5 OHS, pacer in and out ... and surgery w/muscle flap for post op infection (sternal osteomyelitis with mediastinitis) www.caringbridge.org/nj/justinw

  8. #8
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    Dec 2007
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    Middle Ga.
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    Six months after my MV repair I became anemic. After several tests it was decided that something was damaging my red blood cells.The best guess is that the problem was related to my surgery and I was put on a prescription vitamin. Other than coffee colored urine I am fine. I see my hemotologist once a year to double check my blood count.
    God Bless


    Mickey
    Mitral valve repair by DaVinci robot and one fine surgeon on 2/7/08

  9. #9
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    The St. Jude Master's Series has evolved for over 30 years and has a good record for durability.

    The St. Jude Regent came out after the On-X Valves came to market in 1996 and has *some* improvements similar to the On-X but not all.

    I recall a post from a member with a Regent Valve stating that her blood was "Blenderized". You can try to find that post by doing a Search for that word and selecting "any date" in the lower left option window of the Extended Search page. EDIT - No Joy - possibly another victim of the (former) Posts being Deleted when members resign policy.

    As others have indicated, another "STAT" test would be a good idea to confirm the result. I'm thinking that iron supplements are often prescribed for this condition.

    'AL C'

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by ALCapshaw2 View Post
    The St. Jude Master's Series has evolved for over 30 years and has a good record for durability.

    The St. Jude Regent came out after the On-X Valves came to market in 1996 and has *some* improvements similar to the On-X but not all.

    I recall a post from a member with a Regent Valve stating that her blood was "Blenderized". You can try to find that post by doing a Search for that word and selecting "any date" in the lower left option window of the Extended Search page. EDIT - No Joy - possibly another victim of the (former) Posts being Deleted when members resign policy.

    As others have indicated, another "STAT" test would be a good idea to confirm the result. I'm thinking that iron supplements are often prescribed for this condition.

    'AL C'
    Iron is for Red Blood cells, low hemoglobin. Low platelets are usualy because not enough are being formed, or are being destroyed to quickly, in the spleen ect.
    Lyn
    Mom to Justin 25 TGA,VSDs, pulmonary atresia/stenosis ect, post/Rastelli, 5 OHS, pacer in and out ... and surgery w/muscle flap for post op infection (sternal osteomyelitis with mediastinitis) www.caringbridge.org/nj/justinw

  11. #11
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    T-Money, how did your blood count go?
    AVR-November 14, 2007
    23mm On-X Prosthetic Heart Valve
    Home Test since Jan 2008, Coagucheck XS
    "Everyone has a best friend during each stage of life-only a precious few have the same one."
    By: Unknown

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Louisiana
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    Default Update-Final Verdict on Low Platelet Count

    Hi All.
    First, thanks to everyone that answered the call when I put the original message out. After going to a hematologist, I learned that my low platelet count is being causes by my valve. Originally, I had a low platelet count and a normal red count. After further testing, the doc was able to determine that there is red blood cell destruction going on and my bone marrow is producing red cells at almost twice the normal rate to replace them. This helped to make sense out of the original finding of low platelet with normal red count. My platelet count may not get back into the normal range, but is still high enough not to cause problems. Thus, all is well. Thanks again for all of your quick responses.
    T
    AVR/Aortic Root Reconstruction---University of Alabama-Birmingham on April 15, 2005

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by T-Money View Post
    Hi All.
    First, thanks to everyone that answered the call when I put the original message out. After going to a hematologist, I learned that my low platelet count is being causes by my valve. Originally, I had a low platelet count and a normal red count. After further testing, the doc was able to determine that there is red blood cell destruction going on and my bone marrow is producing red cells at almost twice the normal rate to replace them. This helped to make sense out of the original finding of low platelet with normal red count. My platelet count may not get back into the normal range, but is still high enough not to cause problems. Thus, all is well. Thanks again for all of your quick responses.
    T
    Thanks for the update, that makes more sense, both the RBCs and platelets being affected. I'm glad to hear it shouldn't cause problems and can be explained.
    Lyn
    Mom to Justin 25 TGA,VSDs, pulmonary atresia/stenosis ect, post/Rastelli, 5 OHS, pacer in and out ... and surgery w/muscle flap for post op infection (sternal osteomyelitis with mediastinitis) www.caringbridge.org/nj/justinw

  14. #14
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    Texas
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    I recall hearing this before over the years about our mechanical valves breaking down blood platelets.. glad all is well
    Kristen - age 33
    ASD Repair - 1/1997 age 17(Dr. Ott St. Lukes in Houston)
    MV Repair 1/2000 age 20, 1 week later- MV Replacement - 1/2000 - St Jude's mechanical valve(Dr. Ott, THI at St. Lukes in Houston)
    3 yr old Son - BAV (Bicuspid Aortic Valve)
    twin girls - 2 months old through surrogacy

  15. #15
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    What kind of Valve did you get (Manufacturer and Model)?

    Out of curiosity, who did your surgery at UAB?

    'AL C'

  16. #16
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    Mar 2007
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    Kent, OH
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    Default Lovenox & Platelets

    Sorry to reply so late to this thread but I just found out my platelets are at 98,000, too. I've been on Lovenox for the past 10 days due to some surgeries and it turns out that lovenox can also affect your platelet counts. My platelets fell from 130,000 before starting the Lovenox to 98,000 today. I'm anxious to see if they start going back up since I finally stopped the Lovenox today.
    AVR & Aortic dissection fixed, 8/6/06, St Jude Mechanical valve, The Cleveland Clinic

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