Congenital and acquired thrombocytopenia.
The diagnosis and management of thrombocytopenia is a growing component in the practice of hematology. The frequency with which hematologists are called in consultation for thrombocytopenia continues to increase with the advent of routine automated platelet determinations and the introduction of new medications. For most patients, such as those with inherited and auto-immune thrombocytopenia, emphasis is focused on efforts to treat or forestall bleeding without excess drug-induced toxicity or burden to the patient. However, in disorders such as heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT), avoidance of thrombotic complications is the key to management. In this chapter, we provide the pediatric and adult hematologist with new insights into the pathogenesis and recognition of congenital inherited thrombocytopenias (CTP), a hitherto difficult to comprehend constellation of clinical entities. We also highlight new approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of two of the more common thrombocytopenic conditions encountered in practice, autoimmune or idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) and HIT. In Section I, Dr. James Bussel discusses CTPs and their distinction from childhood ITP. He emphasizes the clinical features that enable the pediatrician and hematologist to suspect the diagnosis of CTP and those that are of use to subcategorize the various entities, where possible. He also emphasizes newer molecular markers that afford definitive diagnosis in some cases and provide insight into platelet production. This section highlights the characteristic associated findings and differences in the natural history and approaches to management of the various entities. In Section II, Dr. Robert McMillan discusses adult chronic ITP. He revisits the utility of platelet antibody determination in diagnosis and review new insights into pathogenesis. The role of Helicobacter pylori infection and the timing of splenectomy in the management of acute and emergent ITP are examined. New insights into the natural history of ITP post-splenectomy and management strategies for patients with severe, chronic, refractory ITP are discussed. In Section III, Dr. James Zehnder updates us on HIT. He emphasizes new insights into the clinical presentation and pathogenesis of this condition. He critically reviews the utility of laboratory testing for heparin-dependent antibodies. Recent studies on the use of direct thrombin inhibitors are examined and the management of cardiopulmonary bypass surgery in patients with HIT is discussed.