Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Information and Resources

Font Size

Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura

Important
It is possible that the main title of the report Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

Synonyms

  • ITP
  • autoimmune thrombocytopenic purpura
  • primary thrombocytopenic purpura

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) is a not infrequent autoimmune bleeding disorder characterized by the abnormally low levels of blood cells called platelets, creating a condition known as thrombocytopenia. Platelets are specialized blood cells that help prevent and stop bleeding by inducing clotting. In many ITP cases, there are no readily apparent causes or underlying disease (idiopathic), but frequently there are associated collagen vascular diseases or underlying neoplasms, most frequently lymphoid. The cells of the immune system, lymphocytes, produce anti-platelet antibodies that attach to the platelets. The presence of antibodies on platelets leads to their destruction in the spleen. The disorder is characterized by abnormal bleeding into the skin resulting in bruising, which is what the term purpura means. Bleeding from mucous membranes also occurs, and may subsequently result in low levels of circulating red blood cells (anemia).

ITP presents as a brief, self-limiting form of the disorder (acute ITP) or a longer-term form (chronic ITP). Acute ITP accounts for about 50% of cases, and chronic ITP accounts for the remainder. Eighty percent (80%) of the children with ITP have the acute form while the chronic form affects mostly adults. The acute form usually resolves without treatment (spontaneously) within three to six months. When thrombocytopenia lasts for more than six to 12 months, ITP is classified as the chronic form. Onset of acute ITP is often rapid, while the onset of the chronic form may be gradual.

Resources

American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, Inc.
22100 Gratiot Ave.
Eastpointe, MI 48021
Tel: (586)776-3900
Fax: (586)776-3903
Tel: (800)598-4668
Email: aarda@aarda.org
Internet: http://www.aarda.org/

NIH/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
P.O. Box 30105
Bethesda, MD 20892-0105
Tel: (301)592-8573
Fax: (301)251-1223
Email: nhlbiinfo@rover.nhlbi.nih.gov
Internet: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/

ITP People Place
133 Rollins Avenue, #5
Rockville, MD 20852
USA
Tel: (301)770-6636
Fax: (301)770-6638
Tel: (877)528-3538
Email: info@pdsa.org
Internet: http://www.pdsa.org/

NIH/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute ~ Hematology Branch
10 Center Dr, Building 10-CRC
3-5140, MSC-1202
Bethesda, MD 20892-1202
Tel: (301)496-5093
Fax: (301)496-8396
Tel: (800)644-2337
Email: YoungNS@mail.nih.gov
Internet: http://dir.nhlbi.nih.gov/labs/hb/index.asp?

Platelet Disorder Support Association
133 Rollins Avenue, Suite 5
Rockville, MD 20852
USA
Tel: (301)770-6636
Fax: (301)770-6638
Tel: (877)528-3538
Email: pdsa@pdsa.org
Internet: http://www.pdsa.org

MUMS National Parent-to-Parent Network
150 Custer Court
Green Bay, WI 54301-1243
USA
Email: mums@netnet.net
Internet: http://www.netnet.net/mums/

ITP Foundation
30 Old Kings Hwy South Suite 275
Darien, CT 06820
USA
Tel: (203)655-6954
Fax: (203)548-9182
Email: itpf@itpfoundation.org
Internet: http://www.itpfoundation.org

ITP Support Association
Synehurst
Kimbolton Road
Bolnhurst
Bedfordshire, MK44 2EW
United Kingdom
Email: info@itpsupport.org.uk
Internet: http://www.itpsupport.org.uk

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311
TDD: (888)205-3223
Internet: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/GARD/

Madisons Foundation
PO Box 241956
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Tel: (310)264-0826
Fax: (310)264-4766
Email: getinfo@madisonsfoundation.org
Internet: http://www.madisonsfoundation.org

Autoimmune Information Network, Inc.
PO Box 4121
Brick, NJ 08723
Fax: (732)543-7285
Email: autoimmunehelp@aol.com

European Society for Immunodeficiencies
1-3 rue de Chantepoulet
Geneva, CH 1211
Switzerland
Tel: 410229080484
Fax: 41229069140
Email: esid@kenes.com
Internet: http://www.esid.org

AutoImmunity Community
Email: moderator@autoimmunitycommunity.org
Internet: http://www.autoimmunitycommunity.org

For a Complete Report:

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to www.rarediseases.org and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site www.rarediseases.org or email orphan@rarediseases.org

Last Updated:  2/18/2011
Copyright  1986, 1987, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2010 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

WebMD Medical Reference from the National Organization of Rare Disorders

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

hands on abdomen
Can you catch one?
Woman sitting in front of UV lights
Is yours working?
woman using breath spray
What's causing yours?
womans hand on abdomen
Are you ready for baby?
MS Overview
Recognizing symptoms.
bowl of yogurt with heart shape
Eat for a healthy heart.
woman doing pushups
To help you get fit.
Colored x-ray of tooth decay
Know what to look for.
Woman sitting with child
Do you know the symptoms?
mosquito
Stings, bites, burns, and more.
Allentown, PA
Are you living in one?
Thyroid exam
See how much you know.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.