Helicobacter pylori Infection and Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura: an Update


Reprint requests to: Massimo Franchini, Servizio di Immunoematologia e Trasfusione, Ospedale Policlinico, Piazzale L. Scuro, 10, 37134 Verona, Italy; E-mail: mfranchini@mail.univr.it


Data are accumulating on the association between Helicobacter pylori infection and idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) and the significant increase in platelet count after bacterial eradication. The aim of this review was to consider the studies so far published on H. pylori infection and ITP in order to evaluate a possible correlation between these two conditions. A review of the literature showed that 278 out of the 482 ITP patients investigated (58%) were positive for H. pylori infection and that the bacterium was eradicated in 88% of cases. Eradication therapy was accompanied by a complete or partial platelet response in approximately half the cases. Overall, these data show that H. pylori eradication in patients with ITP is effective in increasing platelet count. However, because the studies so far published are few, are sometimes controversial and involve small series of patients, further studies on larger numbers of patients with longer follow-up are needed to confirm these preliminary findings.