Neame PB, Hirsh J, Browman G, Denburg J, D'Souza TJ, Gallus A, Brain MC
In four of five patients with thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) in whom serial tests of hemostatic function were performed, severe thrombocytopenia, normal plasma fibrinogen concentrations and mildly increased concentrations of fibrinogen/fibrin degradation products were observed. Widespread platelet thrombi were found in arterioles and capillaries. Fibrin could be seen around some of the platelet clumps and was the main component in a small number of the thrombi in two patients. The observations show that TTP is a disorder in which intravascular platelet consumption results in disseminated platelet thrombosis. The coagulation system is apparently activated secondarily to platelet aggregation and variable quantities of fibrin are incorporated into the thrombi. Clinical improvement resulted from combined therapy with corticosteroids, heparin and drugs that suppress platelet function.