What is thrombocytopenia?
Thrombocytopenia is a condition in which there are too few platelets in the blood. Platelets are the cells that are needed for clotting. They are made in the bone marrow .
What causes thrombocytopenia?
Thrombocytopenia may be caused by infections in the baby while it's in the womb, or right after he or she is born. Some of these infections include:
A baby can also get it if a mother's immune system produces antibodies against the baby's platelets. Some medications taken by the mother or given to the baby can cause thrombocytopenia.
Why is thrombocytopenia a concern?
If the baby doesn't have enough platelets he or she may have bleeding into the tissues. Bruising of the skin is common. With bleeding, the red blood cells break down, producing bilirubin. Bilirubin can builds up in the blood, causing jaundice. Jaundice is a yellowing of the skin. Excessive bleeding, called hemorrhage, can be dangerous and can affect the brain and other body systems.
What are the symptoms of thrombocytopenia?
Each baby may experience symptoms differently. Some symptoms of thrombocytopenia are:
The symptoms of thrombocytopenia sometimes look like other conditions or medical problems. Always see your baby's health care provider for a diagnosis.
How is thrombocytopenia diagnosed?
Your baby's health care provider will check his or her medical history and do a physical examination. Laboratory tests of the blood can show decreased platelet counts.
Treatment for thrombocytopenia
Your baby's health care provider will figure out the best treatment for your baby based on:
How old your baby is
His or her overall health, and medical history
How sick your baby is
How well your baby can handle specific medications, procedures, or therapies
How long the disease is expected to last
Your opinion or preference
Treatment usually depends on the cause of the thrombocytopenia. Blood transfusion with platelets may be needed.
- MMI board-certified, academically-affiliated clinician
- Trevino, Heather M., BSN, RNC