Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (patient information)
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|Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura|
Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura
Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura On the Web
Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) is a blood disorder that causes blood clots to form in small blood vessels around the body, and leads to a low platelet count (thrombocytopenia).
What are the symptoms of Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura?
- Bleeding into the skin or mucus membranes
- Changes in consciousness
- Easy fatigue
- Heart rate over 100 beats per minute
- Purplish spots in the skin produced by small bleeding vessels near the surface of the skin (purpura)
- Shortness of breath
- Speech changes
- Yellowish color to the skin (jaundice)
What causes Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura?
- This disease may be caused by a lack of, or problems with, a certain enzyme (a type of protein) that is involved in blood clotting. These changes cause clotting to occur in an abnormal way.
- As the platelets clump together in these clots, fewer platelets are available in the blood in other parts of the body to help with clotting.
- This can lead to bleeding under the skin and purple-colored spots called purpura.
- In some cases, the disorder is passed down through families (inherited) and patients are born with naturally low levels of this enzyme. This condition also may be related to:
When to seek urgent medical care?
Call your health care provider if you have any unexplained bleeding.
- ADAMTS 13 activity level
- Complete blood count
- Platelet count
- Blood smear
- Creatinine level
- Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) level
- Mucus membrane biopsy
- Von Willebrand factor electropheresis
- Plasma exchange (plasmapheresis plus infusion of donor plasma) is used to remove the antibodies that are affecting clotting from the blood and also replace the missing enzyme.
- First, you will have your blood drawn as if you were donating blood.
- The plasma portion of the blood will be passed through a cell separator. The remaining portion of the blood will be saved.
- Plasma will be added to it, and the blood will be returned to you through a transfusion.
- This treatment is repeated daily until blood tests show improvement.
- People who do not respond to this treatment or whose condition often returns may need to:
Where to find medical care for Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura?
Because the cause is unknown, there is no known way to prevent this condition.
What to expect (Outlook/Prognosis)?
Plasma exchange has greatly improved the outcome of this disease. Most patients now recover completely. However, some people die from this disease, especially if it is not found immediately. In people who don't recover, this condition can become long-term (chronic).
- Kidney failure
- Low platelet count (thrombocytopenia)
- Low red blood cell count (caused by the premature breakdown of red blood cells)
- Nervous system problems
- Severe bleeding (hemorrhage)