Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is a rare autoimmune disorder with an incidence of 3 to 5 per 100 000 individuals. In children, the disease is self-limited and is most commonly virus related (acute ITP) whereas in adults, the disease is typically chronic. The age distribution of adult ITP displays 2 peaks; the first in younger adults aged 18 to 40 with a female predominance and the second in people aged older than 60 with men and women affected equally. Our approach to ITP has evolved over the past several years: there has been a change in nomenclature and ITP now denotes "immune thrombocytopenia" (the "I" no longer denoting "idiopathic") and "purpura" no longer features in the name of the disease; new insights into the pathogenesis of ITP have revealed the importance of impaired megakaryocytopoiesis in the condition; underlying mechanisms of secondary ITP have been elucidated and finally novel thrombopoietic agents have been shown to be effective in the treatment of ITP in randomized clinical trials. In this article, we review important recent advances in the pathogenesis and treatment of ITP.
- platelet dysfunction