Thrombocytopenia : Causes, Signs and Symptoms

Alkhafifi, Mahmoud Taher (2018-06-28)

To begin, thrombocytopenia can be defined as a disorder characterized by abnormally low levels of thrombocytes, commonly known as platelets[1]. Normally, an individual’s platelet count ranges from 150,000 to 450,000 platelets per microliter of blood[2], therefore, it more accurate to state that thrombocytopenia is a platelet count below 50,000 per microliter[3]. Moreover, thrombocytopenia often occurs as a result of a separate disorder, such as leukemia or an immune system problem. Another possibility is that it can be a side effect of taking certain medications[4]. Furthermore it affects both children and adults[4], and may be inherited or acquired.[5] Thrombocytopenia may be mild and cause few signs or symptoms. In rare cases, the number of platelets may be so low that dangerous internal bleeding occurs. Treatment options are available.[5] The relevance of thrombocytopenia in the individual patient is variable and depends on the clinical presentation. Because platelets play an essential role in preserving vessel wall integrity, thrombocytopenia is associated with a defect of primary hemostasis[3]. However, the presence of thrombocytopenia can aggravate surgical or traumatic bleeding or prevent the administration of effective treatment for several conditions (eg, antiviral therapy for chronic hepatitis C virus infection or cancer chemotherapy)[5]. In other situations, a low platelet count is the only initial manifestation of an underlying disorder that poses greater risks than thrombocytopenia itself or is an important marker of disease activity


Thrombocytopenia is a common hematologic finding with variable clinical expression. To understand more about thrombocytopenia, this article aims to discuss thrombocytopenia in general and will focus on its signs and symptoms as well as its causes.

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