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Keywords:

  • clinical;
  • diagnosis;
  • immune;
  • thrombocytopenic;
  • purpura

Abstract

Immune (idiopathic) thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) is an autoantibody-mediated condition characterized by an abnormally low number of platelets in the circulating blood. Originally, the cause of ITP was attributed to accelerated antibody-mediated platelet destruction where the rate of thrombopoiesis was inadequate to offset the increased rate of platelet destruction. However, new evidence has indicated that insufficient or inadequate platelet production is also responsible for low platelet counts, and research has focused on the development of treatments that increase platelet production. ITP affects both children and adults and can be either acute or chronic. To manage and treat ITP effectively, an exhaustive assessment of the signs and symptoms must be undertaken because the clinical manifestation of ITP can be highly variable among patients. At the moment, the diagnostic approach in ITP is based largely on a process of exclusion due to the lack of available data regarding clinical and laboratory parameters. The diagnostic procedures used in children and adults are similar and involve collecting the patient’s history and performing a physical examination. Laboratory investigations are kept simple in patients with suspected ITP and include a full blood count and peripheral blood smear. A number of specialized laboratory assays have been developed with varying degrees of success. There remains scope for improving and simplifying the diagnostic process to identify ITP.