Thrombocytopenia is a condition in which there are too few platelets, the blood cells that prevent bleeding. Many things can cause thrombocytopenia in children, most commonly infections (especially viral infections) and destruction of platelets by the immune system (called immune thrombocytopenia or ITP). Children with thrombocytopenia may also have lower numbers of other blood cell types, such as red and white blood cells, depending on the cause.
Without enough platelets, a child may bleed more easily, including:
Excessive bleeding, or hemorrhage, can be dangerous and affect the brain or major body functions
Children with thrombocytopenia are treated at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center through the Blood Disorders Center. Continue reading to learn more about thrombocytopenia or visit the Blood Disorders Center homepage to learn about our expertise and treatment options for this condition.
Each child may experience symptoms differently, but common symptoms of thrombocytopenia include:
A physician will take a complete medical history and perform a physical examination. In addition, laboratory testing of a child’s blood can determine if the platelet count is decreased and, if so, potential causes for this.
After all tests are completed, doctors will be able to outline the best treatment options.