Current management of adult idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura in practice: a cohort study of 201 patients from a single center

Clin Lab Haematol. 2004 Apr;26(2):137-42. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2257.2004.00591.x.


To define usefulness and response to therapy and outcome in adults with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) in clinical practice. We retrospectively reviewed a cohort of 201 consecutive patients with ITP, diagnosed between 1985 and 1994. In particular, we analyzed the therapies used, their response rates, prognostic indicators of response and outcome. In 62 patients, with minor bleeding episodes and a mean (+/- SD) platelet count of 88 +/- 23 x 10(9)/l, no treatment was used and chronic ITP was diagnosed in 59%. A total of 139 patients, with bleeding episodes in 71.2% cases and a mean platelet count of 20 +/- 13 x 10(9)/l, received at least one treatment. Three patients died (1.5% of the series). Corticosteroids were used in 118 patients, with an initial response rate of 82.2% and a long-term complete response (CR) of only 22.9%. Intravenous immunoglobulin was used in 26 patients, with an initial transient response in more than 60%. A splenectomy was performed in 55 patients, with an initial response rate of 92.5% and a long-term CR in 60%. Young age and prior response to corticosteroids were significant predictors of a durable response to splenectomy. Danazol was given in 37 patients, with a favorable response in 73% of cases. Our results illustrate the guidelines of the American Society of Hematology. Patients with moderate thrombocytopenia do not require treatment. In severe cases, splenectomy is the only treatment giving durable cures in a significant proportion of patients. Despite frequent chronicity, ITP is life-threatening only in a minor subset of patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use*
  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Danazol / therapeutic use*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Estrogen Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hemorrhage / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Platelet Count
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic / drug therapy*
  • Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Splenectomy
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Estrogen Antagonists
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous
  • Danazol