Splenectomy for Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura: A Five-Year Retrospective Review

Gibson, Michael; Sehon, J. Kenneth; White, Stephen; Zibari, Gazi B.; Johnson, Lester W.
October 2000
American Surgeon;Oct2000, Vol. 66 Issue 10, p952
Academic Journal
Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura is a condition that is characterized by persistently low platelet counts. Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura results from splenic sequestration and accelerated platelet destruction mediated by antiplatelet antibody. Most cases arise in previously healthy patients, mostly women ages 20 to 40. Clinical symptoms consist of bruising, petechiae, mucosal bleeding, menorrhagia, and intracranial bleeding. Platelet-associated immunoglobulin G can be detected in 90 per cent of patients. Therapy for adults and children is somewhat different. Splenectomy in adults should be considered in patients who fail to respond to steroids, develop thrombocytopenia after taper, or develop steroid toxicity. Ninety per cent of children will maintain normal platelet counts in 9 to 12 months. Some will recover spontaneously without medical therapy. Splenectomy in children is recommended if idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura persists for more than one year or fails to respond to steroids. Our purpose was to determine whether management of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura in patients who undergo splenectomy at our institutions is appropriate and effective. We undertook a 5-year retrospective review of 27 patients with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura which have undergone splenectomy. All of the 27 patients were referred to surgeons after initial medical management. The patients were divided into two groups on the basis of length of therapy: longer than 6 months and less than 6 months. The longer than 6 months group contained 15 patients. This group had a postoperative complication rate of 40 per cent. Those in the group with <6 months therapy had a complication rate of 7 per cent. Average follow-up for all patients was 20 months. Eighty-eight per cent of the patients had complete response. Three per cent had a partial response with platelet counts >50,000. The partial response group did not respond well to preoperative steroid boluses with a gr... INSET: DISCUSSION.


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