Background: Patients with primary immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) commonly describe symptoms of fatigue. However, hematologists rarely consider fatigue a manifestation of ITP.
Objectives: To document the prevalence of fatigue among patients with ITP and to determine the patient characteristics that are associated with fatigue.
Methods: Using a cross-sectional design, we surveyed 1871 members of the UK ITP Support Association [585 (31%) responded], and 93 patients enrolled in the Oklahoma (US) ITP Registry [68 (73%) responded] with questions about their ITP and with validated symptom assessment scales for fatigue, daytime sleepiness, and orthostatic symptoms.
Results: The prevalence of fatigue among both UK (39%) and US (22%) patients was significantly greater than expected compared with normal subjects (P < 0.0001 and P < 0.0001 respectively). In univariate analysis of the combined cohorts, fatigue was associated with a platelet count <100 000/μL, treatment with steroids, bleeding symptoms, presence of other medical conditions, daytime sleepiness, and orthostatic symptoms. Fatigue was not associated with age, gender, duration of ITP, or splenectomy status. Multivariate analysis of the combined cohorts was stratified for the presence or absence of bleeding symptoms. Among 107 patients with bleeding symptoms, fatigue was independently associated with a platelet count <100 000/μL and female gender. Among 491 patients without bleeding symptoms, fatigue was independently associated with a platelet count <30 000/μL, presence of other medical conditions, daytime sleepiness, and orthostatic symptoms.
Conclusions: Fatigue is a common symptom among patients with ITP. These data provide the basis for future studies to define the clinical importance of fatigue in ITP.