Medical Definition of Autoimmune thrombocytopenia purpura
A rare autoimmune disorder characterised by an acute shortage of platelets with resultant bruising and spontaneous bleeding.
The platelet count becomes exceedingly low and spontaneous bleeding from the gums, gastrointestinal tract and nose can be seen. Physical examination may demonstrate enlargement of the spleen. A typical rash occurs to do microscopic haemorrhage of small blood vessels in the skin.
Platelet counts under 10,000 can lead to spontaneous haemorrhage into the brain causing death. Treatment with corticosteroids is generally effective. Surgical removal of the spleen (splenectomy) is reserved for some patients.
Anti-platelet antibodies are detectable in some cases. It may present in either an acute or a chronic form.
(20 Sep 2002)
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