Learn About Thrombocytopenia

What is the definition of Thrombocytopenia?

Thrombocytopenia is any disorder in which there is an abnormally low amount of platelets. Platelets are parts of the blood that help blood to clot. This condition is sometimes associated with abnormal bleeding.

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What are the alternative names for Thrombocytopenia?

Low platelet count - thrombocytopenia

What are the causes of Thrombocytopenia?

Thrombocytopenia is often divided into 3 major causes of low platelets:

  • Not enough platelets are made in the bone marrow
  • Increased breakdown of platelets in the bloodstream
  • Increased breakdown of platelets in the spleen or liver
  • Your bone marrow may not make enough platelets if you have any of the following conditions:

    • Aplastic anemia (disorder in which the bone marrow does not make enough blood cells)
    • Cancer in the bone marrow, such as leukemia
    • Cirrhosis (liver scarring)
    • Folate deficiency
    • Infections in the bone marrow (very rare)
    • Myelodysplastic syndrome (bone marrow does not make enough blood cells or makes defective cells)
    • Vitamin B12 deficiency

    Use of certain drugs may also lead to a low production of platelets in the bone marrow. The most common example is chemotherapy treatment.

    The following health conditions cause increased breakdown of platelets:

    • Disorder in which the proteins that control blood clotting become over active, most often during a serious illness (DIC)
    • Drug-induced low platelet count
    • Enlarged spleen
    • Disorder in which the immune system destroys platelets (ITP)
    • Disorder that causes blood clots to form in small blood vessels, causing a low platelet count (TTP)
    What are the symptoms of Thrombocytopenia?

    You may not have any symptoms. Or you may have general symptoms, such as:

    • Bleeding in the mouth and gums
    • Bruising
    • Nosebleeds
    • Rash (pinpoint red spots called petechiae)

    Other symptoms depend on the cause.

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    What are the current treatments for Thrombocytopenia?

    Treatment depends on the cause of the condition. In some cases, a transfusion of platelets may be required to stop or prevent bleeding.

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    What is the outlook (prognosis) for Thrombocytopenia?

    The outcome depends on the disorder causing the low platelet counts.

    What are the possible complications of Thrombocytopenia?

    Severe bleeding (hemorrhage) is the main complication. Bleeding may occur in the brain or gastrointestinal tract.

    When should I contact a medical professional for Thrombocytopenia?

    Call your provider if you experience unexplained bleeding or bruising.

    How do I prevent Thrombocytopenia?

    Prevention depends on the specific cause.

    What are the latest Thrombocytopenia Clinical Trials?
    Idiopathic Chronic Thrombocytopenia of Undetermined Significance : Pathogenesis and Biomarker
    Summary: It is a translational research study with mechanistical objectives and including biological samples of patients with thrombocytopenia
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    A Pilot Study of Enasidenib for Patients With Clonal Cytopenia of Undetermined Significance and Mutations in IDH2
    Summary: Study researchers think that a drug called enasidenib may help people with clonal cytopenia of undetermined significance (CCUS) because the drug blocks the mutated IDH2 protein, which may improve blood cell counts. The purpose of this study is to find out whether enasidenib is a safe and effective treatment for CCUS.
    What are the Latest Advances for Thrombocytopenia?
    Diagnosis and Treatment of Myelodysplastic Syndromes: A Review.
    Summary: Diagnosis and Treatment of Myelodysplastic Syndromes: A Review.
    Combination therapy for pediatric patients with Kasabach-Merritt phenomenon: A single-center retrospective study.
    Summary: Combination therapy for pediatric patients with Kasabach-Merritt phenomenon: A single-center retrospective study.
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    Analysis of change in esophageal varices and clinical characteristics in hepatitis B virus-related cirrhosis after antiviral therapy.
    Summary: Analysis of change in esophageal varices and clinical characteristics in hepatitis B virus-related cirrhosis after antiviral therapy.
    Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

    Published Date: January 25, 2022
    Published By: Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

    What are the references for this article ?

    Abrams CS. Thrombocytopenia. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 163.

    Arnold DM, Zeller MP, Smith JW, Nazy I. Diseases of platelet number: immune thrombocytopenia, neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia, and posttransfusion purpura. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ, Silberstein LE, et al, eds. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 131.

    Calihan J. Hematology. In: Kleinman K, Mcdaniel L, Molloy M, eds. Harriet Lane Handbook: The John Hopkin's Hospital. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 14.

    Warkentin TE. Thrombocytopenia caused by platelet destruction, hypersplenism, or hemodilution. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ, Silberstein LE, et al, eds. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 132.