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Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP): Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Complications

Oct 27, 2023

Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP): Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Complications

Immune thrombocytopenic purpura  (ITP) is a disorder that can cause bleeding and bruises. A decrease in platelets, which are blood-clotting cells, is the most frequent cause of bleeding.

ITP, or immune thrombocytopenic purpura, is a condition that can cause purple bruises. Further, it may result in tiny reddish-purple skin lesions that resemble rashes.

After acquiring a virus, children can develop ITP. Without medical treatment, they typically heal on their own. Patients often experience months or years of disease.

An ITP patient may not require hospitalization if they are not bleeding and their platelet count is not extremely low. More severe symptoms can be managed with spleen removal surgery or medications that raise platelet counts.

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 Causes Of  Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura

Immunological thrombocytopenia is typically the outcome of immune system malfunctions. It targets and kills the platelets, which are blood-clotting cells.

Adults with ITP may have an infection with the H. pylori bacteria, which causes stomach ulcers, hepatitis, or HIV. The majority of children who get ITP do so as a result of catching a virus, such as the mumps or the flu.

Symptoms Of Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura

Immunoglobulin thrombocytopenia may manifest as asymptomatic. When symptoms do appear, they may include the following:

  • Simple bruises.
  • Small reddish-purple spots called petechiae seem to be seeping into the skin. The lower leg patches are typically visible. They look like a rash.
  • Purpura denotes a more serious condition than petechiae that drains into the skin.
  • Bleeding from the gums or nostrils.
  • Blood in the urine or feces.
  • Exceptionally strong menstrual flow.

Risk Factors Of Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura

ITP is more common in young girls. Individuals who suffer from lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, two ailments in which the immune system attacks healthy tissues, appear to be more vulnerable.

Diagnosis Of Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura

An immune thrombocytopenia diagnosis is made when a doctor has ruled out other potential reasons for bleeding and low platelet counts.

A single test cannot confirm the diagnosis. The levels of platelets can be tracked by blood testing. In adults, a bone marrow biopsy may be required to rule out other disorders.

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Treatment Of Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura

Routine platelet counts may be sufficient for individuals with mild immune thrombocytopenia. Children typically recover on their own. Most ITP patients will eventually require medical care. Since the condition frequently worsens or persists for a long time, it is known as chronic.

Splenectomy, or removing the spleen, and platelet-boosting drugs are available forms of treatment. A healthcare professional may discuss the benefits and drawbacks of certain treatment options. Some patients feel that their condition is not as bad as the side effects of their treatment.


Ensure that your doctor is aware of all over-the-counter medications and supplements you take. Anything that could exacerbate the bleeding may need to be stopped. ginkgo biloba, aspirin, and ibuprofen are few examples.

Medications for ITP treatment include:

  • Steroids Oral corticosteroids, including prednisone, are frequently used by medical professionals: When the platelet count stabilizes, the physician can advise when to stop taking the medication. The long-term use of these medications may raise your risk of osteoporosis, hyperglycemia, and infections.
  • Immune globulin: If corticosteroids are ineffective, immunoglobulin injections may be beneficial. This medication also stops severe bleeding and rapidly raises the blood count before surgery. In a few weeks, the effects normally subside.
  • Drugs that increase platelet count: Bone marrow is aided in producing more platelets by medications such as romiplostim, eltrombopag, and avatrombopag . Some medications may increase the risk of blood clots.
  • Additional medications: Rituximab decreases the immune system's response that may otherwise damage platelets, hence helping in increasing platelet levels. Nevertheless, this medication may lessen the effectiveness of vaccines. It could be necessary to receive further immunizations to avoid sickness after splenic excision surgery. Fomatinib, a more modern medication, has received approval for the treatment of persistent ITP in patients who have not responded to prior therapies.


The next step may be spleen removal surgery if medication is not successful in improving ITP. When working properly, this procedure boosts platelet counts and stops platelet assaults fast.

However, not all splenectomy operations are successful. Furthermore, the absence of the spleen raises the risk of infection.

Interventional Therapy

ITP rarely results in substantial bleeding. Emergency care typically includes receiving a transfusion, or blood with a high platelet count. Additionally helpful may be immunoglobulin and steroids administered via vein stapling.

Complications Of Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura

Cerebral hemorrhage due to immune thrombocytopenia is rarely common. This might be deadly.

Pregnant women who are bleeding or have low platelet counts are more likely to experience significant bleeding during delivery. To maintain a stable platelet count, a doctor may recommend certain treatments.

Often, ITP has no impact on the developing fetus. But as soon as the baby is born, the platelet count needs to be checked.

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