Immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), also known as idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura or immune thrombocytopenia, is a type of thrombocytopenic purpura defined as an isolated low platelet count with a normal bone marrow in the absence of other causes of low platelets. It causes a characteristic red or purple bruise-like rash and an increased tendency to bleed. Two distinct clinical syndromes manifest as an acute condition in children and a chronic condition in adults. The acute form often follows an infection and spontaneously resolves within two months. Chronic immune thrombocytopenia persists longer than six months with a specific cause being unknown.
ITP is an autoimmune disease with antibodies detectable against several platelet surface structures.
ITP is diagnosed by identifying a low platelet count on a complete blood count (a common blood test). However, since the diagnosis depends on the exclusion of other causes of a low platelet count, additional investigations (such as a bone marrow biopsy) may be necessary in some cases.
In mild cases, only careful observation may be required but very low counts or significant bleeding may prompt treatment with corticosteroids, intravenous immunoglobulin, anti-D immunoglobulin, or immunosuppressive medications. Refractory ITP (not responsive to conventional treatment or constant relapsing after splenectomy) requires treatment to reduce the risk of clinically significant bleeding. Platelet transfusions may be used in severe cases with very low platelet counts in people who are bleeding. Sometimes the body may compensate by making abnormally large platelets.