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Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2009 Sep;53(3):318-24. doi: 10.1002/pbc.21934.

Controversies in the diagnosis and management of childhood acute immune thrombocytopenic purpura.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Golisano Children's Hospital, University of Rochester School of Medicine, Rochester, New York 14642, USA.


Acute immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) occurs most commonly in young children who present with severe isolated thrombocytopenia and purpura. A marrow examination is not required unless glucocorticoids are used, lest treatment mask incipient acute lymphoblastic leukemia, but controversy exists here. The recommendations for evaluation and management remain controversial, since prospective controlled trials have not been done. There is some consensus based on experience and empiric data. Almost all children with acute ITP will recover completely without therapy. Although the various treatments may increase the platelet count, they do not influence the outcome of the illness, may increase cost, and cause significant side effects. Therefore, careful observation may be the best management option for the patient with ITP, in the absence of severe bleeding. The data available relevant to these issues are discussed.

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