Thrombocytopenia (low platelet count) definition and facts
- Thrombocytopenia or low platelet count is a lower than normal number of platelets (less
than 150,000 platelets per microliter) in the blood.
- Thrombocytopenia may be inherited or acquired when conditions occur,
such as the use of certain drugs.
- Causes of thrombocytopenia can be classified in three groups:
- Diminished production (caused by viral infections, vitamin
deficiencies, aplastic anemia, drug induced)
- Increased destruction (caused by drugs, heparin [HIT],
idiopathic, pregnancy, immune system)
- Sequestration (caused by enlarged spleen, neonatal,
- Thrombocytopenic symptoms may
- Petechiae (superficial tiny areas of bleeding into the skin resulting in
small reddish spots)
- Purpura (easy or excessive bruising)
- Prolonged bleeding cuts
- Spontaneous bleeding from the gums or nose
- Heavy menstrual bleeding that's unusual for the female
- Blood in the urine or
- Enlarged spleen (splenomegaly)
- Bleeding that will not stop
- DVT (deep vein thrombosis)
- Individuals should seek medical
care if they have one or more these symptoms.
- Doctors that may be consulted for
thrombocytopenia include emergency medicine, internal medicine,
hematologists, and immunologists.
- Diagnosis of thrombocytopenia is
confirmed by blood tests that determine platelet count.
- Treatment of thrombocytopenia
varies depending on the cause and the severity of the condition.
- Complications of thrombocytopenia
can be severe (organ damage and death).
- Depending upon the cause,
thrombocytopenia may be prevented. However, many causes may not be
- If treated early and effectively,
the prognosis for thrombocytopenia is usually good. However, if diagnosed
later in the disease process, or if HIT is the cause, the prognosis
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/1/2016