Successful prevention of thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) relapse using monthly prophylactic plasma exchanges throughout pregnancy in a patient with systemic lupus erythematosus and a prior history of refractory TTP and recurrent fetal loss

Transfus Apher Sci. 2010 Aug;43(1):29-31. doi: 10.1016/j.transci.2010.05.002. Epub 2010 Jun 14.


Background: The occurrence of thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) in the setting systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is rare. In women of childbearing age, TTP is associated with high rates of recurrence in pregnancy. Furthermore, both TTP and SLE are associated with a significant risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Case presentation: We describe the case of a 36 year old female in her first trimester of pregnancy with a prior history of SLE-associated severe refractory TTP who was treated with a combination of corticosteroids and prophylactic plasma exchanges (PLEX) throughout pregnancy to prevent TTP recurrence. She delivered a healthy infant at 33 weeks of gestation after the onset of preterm labor. There was no evidence of TTP recurrence in the antepartum or postpartum period in this high risk patient.

Conclusion: Prophylactic PLEX should be considered as a therapeutic option to prevent recurrent TTP during pregnancy in high risk patients, including patients with previous SLE-associated TTP.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Habitual / etiology
  • Abortion, Habitual / prevention & control*
  • Adult
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / blood
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / complications*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / therapy
  • Plasma Exchange
  • Plasmapheresis
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Hematologic / drug therapy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Hematologic / prevention & control*
  • Purpura, Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic / drug therapy
  • Purpura, Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic / prevention & control*