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Immune Thrombocytopenia


Immune thrombocytopenia is a bleeding disorder. Immune thrombocytopenia may happen when your immune system attacks and destroys your platelets. This causes low platelet levels. Platelets are cells that help the blood clot (stop bleeding). When platelet levels are low, bleeding may occur anywhere in your body. Immune thrombocytopenia may also be called idiopathic thrombocytopenia.


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  • Steroids help increase platelet levels.
  • Antibodies help stop your body from destroying platelets and may increase platelet levels.


  • Blood tests are done to count your platelets and time how long it takes your blood to clot.
  • A bone marrow biopsy will show if your bone marrow is making platelets normally.


  • Platelet transfusions may be given if your platelet levels are low. Platelet transfusions may also help stop heavy bleeding. You may be given platelet transfusions before procedures or surgeries to help your blood clot.
  • Surgery to remove your spleen is rarely needed but may be done to stop your body from destroying platelets.


Immune thrombocytopenia can cause life-threatening bleeding, blood clots, heart attack, or stroke.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.