Acute immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is a common benign bleeding disorder of variable etiology characterized by isolated thrombocytopenia. Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) treatment is generally given as an initial treatment to pediatric patients with ITP, but markers predictive of the response to IVIG remain poorly defined. We retrospectively evaluated whether clinical and laboratory findings before treatment could predict response to IVIG and progression to chronic ITP in Japanese children with ITP. Between April 1997 and December 2011, a total of 49 children with newly diagnosed ITP were initially treated with IVIG. Their medical records were retrospectively reviewed. In multivariate analyses, lower white blood cell (WBC) count was the only unfavorable factor for response to IVIG and progression to chronic ITP. Patients with WBC count <7.0 × 10(9)/L had a lower probability of thrombocytopenia-free survival (41 vs. 77 %, P = 0.003) and a higher rate of progression to chronic ITP (29 vs. 6 %, P = 0.040) than those with WBC count ≥7.0 × 10(9)/L. These results suggest that ITP with lower WBC count may represent a distinct subgroup requiring initial treatment other than IVIG.