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Platelet Disorders (Pediatric)

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What are platelet disorders?

Platelets are blood cells that play an important function in hemostasis and coagulation. The role of platelets is to stop bleeding by clumping together and plugging up injuries to blood vessels.

The most common child and adolescent platelet disorder is immune thrombocytopenia (ITP), in which the immune system attacks the platelets.

What causes platelet disorders?

Abnormal bleeding due to platelet disorders may be caused by: 


  • Low platelet count caused by the body either not making enough platelets or by a disorder that causes a large number of platelets to be destroyed by the body’s immune system, ITP (idiopathic  thrombocytopenic purport).
  • May be caused by an antecedent infection or as a consequence to a drug.
  • Immune thrombocytopenia is the most common child and adolescent platelet disorder.


  • High platelet count that predisposes to clot formation
  • Thrombocytopathy
  • Abnormal platelet function

What are the symptoms of platelet disorders?

The main symptom of platelet disorders is bleeding, such as:

  • Petechiae (small red or purple dots)
  • Purpura (medium-sized spots)
  • Overt hemorrhage

What is the treatment for platelet disorders?

Treatment of platelet disorders includes:

  • Observation without therapy 
  • Corticosteroids
  • Intravenous immunoglobulin 
  • Anti-D immunoglobulin
  • Immunosuppressive drugs
  • Splenectomy, the surgical removal of the spleen