Thrombocytopenic Purpura

What is Thrombocytopenic Purpura?

Thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) is a rare blood disorder in which the blood doesn't clot normally due to a low platelet count. Platelets are a type of blood cell that helps the blood clot; when there are too few of them, easy bleeding and bruises can occur. TTP can become life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated quickly.

Symptoms of Thrombocytopenic Purpura

Common symptoms of thrombocytopenic purpura include:

  • Easy bleeding and bruising
  • Excessive pale appearance due to anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Nosebleeds
  • Purpura (purplish bruises on the skin)
  • Shortness of breath

Causes of Thrombocytopenic Purpura

The cause of TTP is unknown, but many cases are believed to be caused by damage to the cells that produce platelets in the bone marrow. This damage can be caused by autoimmune diseases, infections, or drugs. In some cases, the cause is genetic.

Diagnosis of Thrombocytopenic Purpura

Diagnosis of TTP usually involves a blood test to look for low platelet counts and other abnormalities. Other tests may include imaging tests such as an MRI to rule out other causes of bleeding, or a biopsy of the bone marrow to check for damage to the platelet-producing cells.

Treatment of Thrombocytopenic Purpura

Treatment for TTP usually involves a combination of medications to reduce the inflammation and to increase the number of platelets. Other treatments may include removal of the spleen, or a blood transfusion. In some cases, a bone marrow transplant may be recommended.

Prevention of Thrombocytopenic Purpura

As TTP has no known cause, it is not possible to prevent it. However, it is important to be aware of the symptoms and to see a doctor if any signs of TTP appear. Early diagnosis and treatment are key in preventing life-threatening complications.