Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP)

Alternative Names

Immune thrombocytopenic purpura; ITP

Definition of Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP)

Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura is a in which the immune system destroys platelets, which are necessary for normal blood clotting. Persons with the disease have too few platelets in the blood.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

ITP occurs when certain immune system cells produce antibodies against platelets. Platelets help your blood clot by clumping together to plug small holes in damaged blood vessels.

Signs and tests

Laboratory tests will be done to see how well your blood clots and to check your platelet count.

Treatment

In children, the disease usually goes away without treatment. Some children, however, may need treatment.

Expectations (prognosis)

With treatment, the chance of remission (a symptom-free period) is good. Rarely, ITP may become a long-term condition in adults and reappear, even after a symptom-free period.

Review

David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; James R. Mason, MD, Oncologist, Director, Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program and Stem Cell Processing Lab, Scripps Clinic, Torrey Pines, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 3/28/2010

Blood cells

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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