The role of splenectomy in multimodality treatment of thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura

Ann Surg. 1985 Sep;202(3):318-22. doi: 10.1097/00000658-198509000-00007.


Current treatment modalities for thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) include plasmapheresis (PP), splenectomy, steroids, dextran, other antiplatelet agents, and vinca alkaloids. Prior to the development of PP and use of multimodality treatment for TTP, mortality rates exceeded 50%. This report reviews 11 patients treated for TTP, demonstrates the successful use of splenectomy as salvage therapy, and defines our indications for splenectomy in the treatment of this disorder. Ten of 11 patients were initially treated with PP; three responded completely and one died of fulminant disease. Six patients had a transient partial response to plasmapheresis and were subsequently treated with splenectomy, steroids, and dextran-70. Initial plasmapheresis resulted in improvement in laboratory values and clinical status in those patients requiring splenectomy. Durable remission (6-48 months) was achieved in 91% of patients with minimal morbidity.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Transfusion
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Dextrans / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plasmapheresis
  • Prognosis
  • Purpura, Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic / pathology
  • Purpura, Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic / surgery*
  • Splenectomy*
  • Steroids / therapeutic use


  • Dextrans
  • Steroids