Edta-dependent pseudothrombocytopenia: A clinical study of 18 patients and a review of the literature



EDTA-dependent pseudothrombocytopenia (EDTA-PTCP) is the phenomenon of a spurious low platelet count due to the appearance of antibodies that cause platelet agglutination in blood anticoagulated with EDTA. We review here the clinical features of 18 patients with EDTA-PTCP treated in our hospital from 1984 to 1987 as well as those of 34 patients reported in the literature. This phenomenon appears more frequently in severely ill patients, in association with autoimmune, neoplastic, atherosclerosis-related, and liver diseases. In the majority of our patients, EDTA-PTCP appeared during hospitalization, indicating that the antibody is an acquired one. Neither splenomegaly nor the presence of autoimmune markers were features of this entity. Unlike true thrombocytopenias, EDTA-PTCP is associated with a normal mean platelet volume. Awareness of this entity is essential since EDTA-PTCP is frequently misdiagnosed and therefore incorrectly treated.