• Vol. 27 No. 6, 789–793
  • 15 November 1998

A Study of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP) Patients over a Ten-year Period



Download PDF


Adult idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) is an autoimmune disorder caused by antiplatelet autoantibodies that cause platelet destruction by the reticuloendothelial system. The disease has been well-documented in the West. We studied 78 ITP patients diagnosed and followed up in a tertiary hospital, over a 10-year period, to give a profile of our local patients and their response to treatment. The majority of patients were females and fall in the 20 to 39 years age group. 21.8% were asymptomatic at presentation. The mean presenting platelet count was 31 x 109/L. Complete response rate to steroid treatment was 46.7%. Thirty-seven patients (47.4%) underwent splenectomy with a success rate of 64.9%. 6.4% required multiple drugs to maintain a stable platelet count. There was no spontaneous, long-term remission in this series. 10.3% of our patients eventually developed an autoimmune disease. ITP has a variable clinical course and treatment has to be highly individualised.

Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) is an immunoregulatory disorder in which antibodies damage platelets leading to their removal by cells of the reticuloendothelial system (RES). This occurs mainly in the spleen which is also the primary site of synthesis of these antiplatelet antibodies.

This article is available only as a PDF. Please click on “Download PDF” on top to view the full article.