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Approach to the child with unexplained thrombocytopenia

Donald L Yee, MD
Section Editors
Donald H Mahoney, Jr, MD
Lawrence LK Leung, MD
Deputy Editor
Carrie Armsby, MD, MPH


Thrombocytopenia, defined as a platelet count <150,000/microL, is clinically suspected when a child develops characteristic clinical symptoms, which include a petechial rash, easy bruising or bleeding, or mucosal hemorrhage. Thrombocytopenia is often asymptomatic and may present as an incidental finding during routine evaluation or during laboratory investigations performed for other reasons. A common cause of thrombocytopenia in children is immune thrombocytopenia (ITP, previously known as idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura), for which the consensus definition is more restrictive, requiring a platelet count <100,000/microL [1].

Our approach to the evaluation of thrombocytopenia in children will be reviewed here. Other topic reviews with information relevant to the child with thrombocytopenia include the following:

(See "Causes of thrombocytopenia in children".)

(See "Causes of neonatal thrombocytopenia".)

(See "Approach to the child with bleeding symptoms".)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Jul 10, 2015.
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