Slideshows Images Quizzes
font size

Thrombocytopenia (Low Platelet Count)

Medical Author:
Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

Thrombocytopenia (low platelet count) definition and facts

  • Thrombocytopenia or low platelet count is a lower than normal number of platelets (less than 150,000 platelets per microliter) in the blood.
  • Thrombocytopenia may be inherited or acquired when conditions occur, such as the use of certain drugs.
  • Causes of thrombocytopenia can be classified in three groups:
    • Diminished production (caused by viral infections, vitamin deficiencies, aplastic anemia, drug induced)
    • Increased destruction (caused by drugs, heparin [HIT], idiopathic, pregnancy, immune system)
    • Sequestration (caused by enlarged spleen, neonatal, gestational, pregnancy)
  • Thrombocytopenic symptoms may include:
    • Petechiae (superficial tiny areas of bleeding into the skin resulting in small reddish spots)
    • Fatigue
    • Purpura (easy or excessive bruising)
    • Prolonged bleeding cuts
    • Spontaneous bleeding from the gums or nose
    • Jaundice
    • Heavy menstrual bleeding that's unusual for the female
    • Blood in the urine or stools
    • Enlarged spleen (splenomegaly)
    • Bleeding that will not stop
    • DVT (deep vein thrombosis)
  • Individuals should seek medical care if they have one or more these symptoms.
  • Doctors that may be consulted for thrombocytopenia include emergency medicine, internal medicine, hematologists, and immunologists.
  • Diagnosis of thrombocytopenia is confirmed by blood tests that determine platelet count.
  • Treatment of thrombocytopenia varies depending on the cause and the severity of the condition.
  • Complications of thrombocytopenia can be severe (organ damage and death).
  • Depending upon the cause, thrombocytopenia may be prevented. However, many causes may not be preventable.
  • If treated early and effectively, the prognosis for thrombocytopenia is usually good. However, if diagnosed later in the disease process, or if HIT is the cause, the prognosis decreases.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/1/2016


Women's Health

Find out what women really need.

Thrombocytopenia (Low Platelet Count) Related Articles
Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors