Non-Immune-Mediated Platelet Destruction

Some of the common types of non-immune-mediated platelet destruction include:


Disseminated Intravascular Coagulopathy (DIC)

DIC is the abnormal formation of small blood clots within the blood vessels. This process consumes clotting factors and platelets resulting in a reduced platelet count and increased bleeding. DIC can result from a variety of infections, traumas, diseases and some drugs.

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Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (TTP) / Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS)

These related diseases are both characterized by low platelet counts, fragmentation and destruction of red blood cells and organ damage, especially the kidneys. TTP can be caused by the inhibition or an inherited defect of the von Willebrand Factor cleaving enzyme, ADAMTS13 and some drugs. HUS is seen more frequently in children after a bacterial infection.

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Enlarged Spleen (splenomegaly)

The spleen usually stores about one-third of the body’s platelets. If it becomes enlarged due to various diseases, the spleen will store additional platelets leading to thrombocytopenia. In ITP, the spleen is expected to be a normal size, not significantly enlarged.

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Henoch-Schönlein Purpura (HSP)

HSP is a type of vasculitis or inflammation of the blood vessels. In HSP, immune complexes attach to the blood vessels causing purpura along with the possibility of joint and stomach pain and kidney involvement. This condition can present with or without thrombocytopenia.

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Pseudothrombocytopenia

Pseudothrombocytopenia is an erroneous diagnosis of thrombocytopenia due to platelet clumping caused by a reaction to chemicals in the laboratory sampling collection process, rather than by a disease affecting platelet production or destruction. The most common chemical that causes this problem is ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA). The clumping causes the automatic counters to undercount platelets leading to the erroneous diagnosis of thrombocytopenia. This clumping is not known to be associated with any pathology. Reading the blood smear is the most common way to confirm the clumping and correct the platelet count.

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