Photo courtesy of Allen S. Kramer, Texas Children’s Hospital.
What is ITP?
Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is a rare bleeding disorder. ITP occurs when a person’s immune system causes destruction of platelets resulting in thrombocytopenia (decreased platelet number). Platelets are blood cells that help form clots to stop bleeding. A blood test can count the number of platelets. A normal platelet count is higher than 100,000/mm3. Individuals with ITP generally have a platelet count <100,000/mm3.
The cause of ITP is not known, although it has been associated with viral infections, certain medications, and immune disorders. ITP is not contagious. Currently, there is no cure for ITP, but, in children, most cases resolve on their own.