Thursday, July 29, 2010


What is it?
Thrombocytopenia is the lack of platelets in the blood. A normal human has about 150 000 to 450 000 platelets per microliter. A person is considered to have Thrombocytopenia when he/she has a platelet count of less than 5000 per microliter.

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Thrombocytopenia may result from the use of certain drugs, quinidine, rifampin, heparin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents, histamine blockers, most chemotherapeutic agents, allopurinol and alcohol.



Treatment of thrombocytopenia varies according to the cause. If thrombocytopenia is drug-induced, then removal of the offending agents should correct the condition.

Corticosteroids may be used to increase platelet production. Lithium carbonate or folate may also be used to stimulate the bone marrow production of platelets. Platelet transfusions may be used to stop episodic abnormal bleeding caused by a low platelet count. However, if platelet destruction results from an immune disorder, platelet infusions may have only a minimal effect and may be reserved for life-threatening bleeding.

Splenectomy may be necessary to correct thrombocytopenia caused by platelet destruction. A splenectomy should significantly reduce platelet destruction because the spleen acts as the primary site of platelet removal and antibody production.

Patients with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura may require high-dose intravenous immunoglobulin. Patients with thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura will probably require large-volume plasma exchange.


How Can Thrombocytopenia Be Prevented?

Whether you can prevent thrombocytopenia depends on its specific cause. Most cases of the condition can't be prevented. However, you can take steps to prevent its complications.

  • Avoid heavy drinking. Alcohol slows the production of platelets.
  • Avoid medicines that have decreased your platelet count in the past.
  • Be aware of medicines that may affect your platelets and raise your risk for bleeding. Two examples of such medicines are aspirin and ibuprofen. These medicines may thin your blood too much.
  • Talk with your doctor about getting vaccinated for viruses that can affect your platelets. You may need vaccines for mumps, measles, rubella, and chickenpox. You may want to have your child vaccinated for these viruses as well. Talk to you child's doctor about these vaccines.

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