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Dengue hemorrhagic fever and severe thrombocytopenia in a patient on mandatory anticoagulation; balancing two life threatening conditions; a case report

Champika Gamakaranage1, Chaturaka Rodrigo2*, Sincy Samarawickrama1, Dilushi Wijayaratne1, Malaka Jayawardane1, Panduka Karunanayake2 and Saroj Jayasinghe2

Author Affiliations

1 University Medical Unit, National Hospital of Sri Lanka, Colombo, Sri Lanka

2 Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Colombo, Sri Lanka

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2012, 12:272  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-272

Published: 26 October 2012



Managing a severe dengue infection is a challenge specially when complicated by other comorbidities. We report a patient with dengue haemorrhagic fever and spontaneous bleeding who required mandatory anticoagulation for a prosthetic mitral valve replacement. This is the first case report in published literature describing this therapeutic dilemma.

Case presentation

A fifty one year old Sri Lankan woman was diagnosed with dengue haemorrhagic fever with bleeding manifestations. During the critical phase of her illness, the platelet count dropped to 5,000/ɥl. She was also on warfarin 7 mg daily following a prosthetic mitral valve insertion. In managing the patient, the risk of bleeding had to be balanced against the risk of valve thrombosis without anticoagulation. Warfarin was withheld when the platelet count dropped to 100,000/ɥl and restarted when it recovered above 50,000/ɥl. The patient was off anticoagulation for 10 days.


We managed this patient with close observation and continuous risk benefit assessments of management decisions. However, experience with one patient cannot be generalized to others. Therefore, it is essential that clinicians share their experiences in managing such difficult patients.