Presentation and Evaluation of Immune Thrombocytopenia

  • Vicky R. BreakeyEmail author


Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) often presents clinically as petechiae, bruising, and/or mucocutaneous bleeding with an acute onset. Severe bleeding at the time of presentation is rare but can be life threatening. A detailed clinical history, including a review of the patient’s family history, is important to assess for possible inherited and/or secondary causes of thrombocytopenia (see Chap.  1). The physical examination reveals an otherwise healthy individual with skin bruising, purpura, and/or petechial rash in the absence of other findings, specifically lymphadenopathy or hepatosplenomegaly, or other systemic signs/symptoms such as fever, fatigue, weight loss, malaise, and/or pain. The diagnosis of primary ITP is one of exclusion and relies on ruling out other causes of thrombocytopenia in addition to a careful review for conditions associated with secondary ITP. The initial investigations often show severe thrombocytopenia, with variable to high mean platelet volume (MPV). In otherwise typical presentations, no additional testing is needed. The role of bone marrow testing remains controversial and is generally reserved for patients with an uncertain diagnosis or an atypical course.


Thrombocytopenia Bleeding diathesis Autoimmune disorders 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PediatricsMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada

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