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Define idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura

idiopathic = unknown cause; thrombocyto = platelet; purpura = purple spotting --- one level of a three-level system gauging micro-bleeds of the skin


Idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura (ITP) is a disorder of _______.

decreased platelet numbers


Which form of ITP, acute or chronic, is usually self-resolving?

Acute, typically seen in children. Chronic form persists in adults and must be continually treated.


What are the three levels of micro-bleeds?

petechia (spots ~1-2 mm), purpura (spots ~ 0.3-1cm), ecchymoses (>1cm)


What are the clinical features of ITP?

easy bleeding w/ increased bleed time, micro-bleeds in capillaries, and easy bruising and nosebleeds.


Why does ITP exhibit a greatly reduced platelet count?

Decr. production and/or incr. destruction of platelets; latter removed from blood by spleen


ITP exhibits a delayed prothrombin consumption; how might this reflect clinically?

prolonged bleed times; prothrombin is slow to become thrombin, which delays conversion of fibrinogen to fibrin, which ultimately forms the clot.


Why might someone with ITP exhibit bleeding from membranes such as the oral mucosa?

Mucosal linings (and the skin) are easily bruised in ITP


Which form of ITP (acute or chronic) is due to autoimmunity?

The chronic form: antibodies to platelets are present


How might you treat idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura?

SPLENECTOMY, immunosuppression therapy, or corticosteroids