Association of a positive direct antiglobulin test with chronic immune thrombocytopenia and use of second line therapies in children: A multi-institutional review

Am J Hematol. 2019 Apr;94(4):461-466. doi: 10.1002/ajh.25409. Epub 2019 Feb 4.


Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is the most common autoimmune cytopenia in children. Approximately, 25% of patients develop chronic disease, which may be unpredictable and challenging to treat. It is not currently possible to predict at the time of presentation which patients will have chronic disease or will experience symptoms requiring second-line therapy defined as treatment beyond corticosteroids, intravenous immunoglobulin, or Rh immune globulin. A multi-institutional retrospective review of 311 pediatric patients with ITP was performed with the goal of identifying clinical characteristics associated with disease course. In a cohort of 216 patients tested and for whom disease status was known, a positive direct antiglobulin test (DAT) was associated with chronic ITP vs spontaneous resolution of disease (29.2% vs 8.1%, P < 0.001) as well as the need for treatment with second line agents (38.5% vs 11.4%, P < 0.001) in 241 patients. Controlling for the effect of Evans syndrome, defined as having two immune cytopenias, a positive DAT was independently associated with chronic ITP (OR = 2.7, 95% CI: 1.0-7.2, P = 0.041) and use of second-line agents (OR: 3.6, 95% CI: 1.7-7.7, P = 0.001) by multivariate logistic regression model. These findings demonstrate an association with positive DAT and chronic disease, as well as refractory disease requiring second-line agents.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / administration & dosage*
  • Anemia, Hemolytic, Autoimmune* / blood
  • Anemia, Hemolytic, Autoimmune* / drug therapy
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chronic Disease
  • Coombs Test*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic* / blood
  • Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic* / drug therapy
  • Rho(D) Immune Globulin / administration & dosage*
  • Thrombocytopenia* / blood
  • Thrombocytopenia* / drug therapy


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous
  • Rho(D) Immune Globulin

Supplementary concepts

  • Evans Syndrome