ABSTRACT: Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is a common hematologic disorder characterized by isolated thrombocytopenia. ITP presents as a primary form characterized by isolated thrombocytopenia (platelet count < 100 × 109 /L) in the absence of other causes or disorders that may be associated with thrombocytopenia, or a secondary form in which immune thrombocytopenia develops in association with another disorder that is usually immune or infectious. ITP may affect individuals of all ages, with peaks during childhood and in the elderly, in whom the age specific incidence of ITP is greatest. Bleeding is the most common clinical manifestation of ITP, with the risk of bleeding and related morbidity increased in elderly patients. The pathogenesis of ITP is complex, involving alterations in humoral and cellular immunity. Thrombocytopenia is caused by antibodies that react with glycoproteins expressed on platelets and megakaryocytes (glycoprotein IIb/IIIa, Ib/ IX and others), causing shortened survival of circulating platelets and impairing platelet production. Diminished numbers and function of regulatory T cells, as well as the effects of cytotoxic T cells also contribute to the pathogenesis of ITP. Corticosteroids remain the most common first line therapy for ITP, occasionally in conjunction with intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) and anti-Rh(D). However, these agents do not lead to durable remissions in the majority of adults with ITP, and considerable heterogeneity exists in the use of second line approaches, which may include splenectomy, Rituximab, or thrombopoietin receptor agonists (TRAs). This review summarizes the classification and diagnosis of primary and secondary ITP, as well as the pathogenesis and options for treatment. Remarkable advances in the understanding and management of ITP have been achieved over the last decade, though many questions remain.

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