Thrombocytopenia (Low Platelet Count) (cont.)

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What are the complications of thrombocytopenia?

The complications of thrombocytopenia may be excessive bleeding after a cut or an injury resulting in hemorrhage and major blood loss. However, spontaneous bleeding (without any injury or laceration) due to thrombocytopenia is uncommon, unless the platelet count is less than 10,000.

Other complications may be related to any other underlying factors or conditions. For example, autoimmune thrombocytopenia related to lupus may be associated with other complications of lupus. TTP or HUS can have many complications including severe anemia, confusion or other neurologic changes, or kidney failure. HIT or heparin induced thrombocytopenia can have devastating complications related to blood clot formation (thrombosis).

Can thrombocytopenia be prevented?

In general, thrombocytopenia can be prevented if the cause is known and it is preventable. If a certain medication is found to induce low platelet count in an individual, then its future use needs to be avoided. Alcohol avoidance should be encouraged in people with known alcohol-induced thrombocytopenia. Current and future use of all heparin products must be avoided in people diagnosed with heparin-induced thrombocytopenia.

Medically reviewed by David Hoffman, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialties in Oncology and Hematology

REFERENCE:

Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 1998.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/8/2014

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