DIAGNOSING AND MANAGING AN IDIOPATHIC THROMBOCYTOPENIC PURPURA CASE ON THE USMLE EXAMS
It is important that we know when and why to make the diagnosis of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura, the criteria are listed below:
– Patient with purpura/petechia and very low platelet count without any identifiable causes for isolated thrombocytopenia get a diagnosis of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura.
– This is caused by autoantibodies against the circulating platelets.
** Patients with MILD (30,000 – 50,000) and/or asymptomatic thrombocytopenia should NOT be treated (as platelet transfusion would only result in autoantibody destruction anyway)
*** only in severe cases of ITP should transfusion be given (ie. life-threatening bleeds)