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Crit Care Clin. 2012 Jul;28(3):399-411, vi. doi: 10.1016/j.ccc.2012.04.007.

Etiology and significance of thrombocytopenia in critically ill patients.

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Department of Pediatrics, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Stony Brook Long Island Children's Hospital, Stony Brook, NY 11794-8111, USA.


Thrombocytopenia is common in critically ill patients and increases morbidity and mortality. A diagnosis of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) is frequently considered in any ICU patient who develops thrombocytopenia in the context of ongoing heparin exposure. As the usual tests to diagnose HIT are often neither specific nor sensitive enough to be confirmatory, the intensivist must largely rely on clinical judgment in treatment decisions. Patients in the ICU may also develop thrombocytopenia resulting from non-HIT immune mechanisms, nonimmune platelet consumption, and from decreased platelet production due to preexisting disorders or as a result of their critical illness and/or drug therapy.

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