A characteristic flow cytometric pattern with broad forward scatter and narrowed side scatter helps diagnose immune thrombocytopenia (ITP)

Int J Hematol. 2018 Aug;108(2):151-160. doi: 10.1007/s12185-018-2454-y. Epub 2018 Apr 16.

Abstract

Various disorders cause severe thrombocytopenia, which can lead to critical hemorrhage. Procedures that rapidly support the diagnosis and risk factors for serious bleeding were explored, with a focus on immune thrombocytopenia (ITP). Twenty-five patients with thrombocytopenia, including 13 with newly diagnosed ITP, 3 with chronic ITP, 6 with aplastic anemia (AA), and 3 with other thrombocytopenia (one acute myeloid leukemia, one acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and one hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis), were reviewed. In addition to platelet-related parameters obtained by an automated hematology analyzer, flow cytometric analysis of platelets was performed. A characteristic flow cytometric pattern with broad forward scatter and narrowed side scatter, which is specific to ITP, but not other types of thrombocytopenia, was found. CD62P-positive platelets were increased in newly diagnosed ITP cases compared to control (P < 0.0001), AA (P = 0.0032). Moreover, detection of dramatic changes in these parameters on sequential monitoring may suggest internal hemorrhage, even absent skin or visible mucosal bleeding. The bleeding score for visible mucosae had a negative correlation with platelet count and a positive correlation with immature platelet fraction (%), forward scatter, and CD62P. This characteristic flow cytometric pattern makes it possible to distinguish ITP from other thrombocytopenic disorders.

Keywords: Aplastic anemia; Flow cytometry; Immune thrombocytopenia; Platelets.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anemia, Aplastic
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry / methods*
  • Hemorrhage / diagnosis
  • Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • P-Selectin
  • Platelet Count*
  • Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic / blood
  • Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic / diagnosis*
  • Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult

Substances

  • P-Selectin
  • SELP protein, human