Background: Acute and chronic idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) is traditionally based on the duration of thrombocytopenia at the cut-off point of 6 months after diagnosis. Registry I evaluated the diagnosis, definition, management, and follow-up of childhood ITP. This report focuses on children with thrombocytopenia persisting more than 6 months.
Procedure: Data were collected by questionnaires to the physicians caring for children with ITP, at diagnosis, 6, and 12 months later. Data were compared regarding initial features and follow-up with emphasis on children with persistent thrombocytopenia, and those with ITP who recovered their platelet counts between 7 and 12 months from diagnosis.
Results: At 12 months from diagnosis, 79 of 308 (25.6%) evaluable children recovered from ITP and 229 had ongoing ITP. Children with recovered ITP were younger than children with ongoing ITP (P = 0.043) and exhibited a lower frequency of bleeding symptoms during the first 6 months after diagnosis (P = 0.018). Frequency of hospitalization, bone marrow aspiration, and drug treatment differed regionally.
Conclusions: The high rate of recovery from ITP between 7 to 12 months demonstrates, that the cut-off point of 6 months for the definition of chronic ITP does not adequately differentiate chronic from acute ITP. The majority of children with ITP have variable time to recovery with gradual improvement of platelet counts and disappearance of bleeding signs. ITP is a heterogeneous disorder with a diverse natural history and diverse pattern of treatment response.