Immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP)
Children's is a large ITP center; we see about one new patient a week and conduct second opinions for people with ITP from all over the world.
Ellis Neufeld, MD, PHD, Boston Children's Hospital
Most of the time, a run-of-the-mill skinned knee or scraped elbow is nothing to worry about. But for some children, these can be dangerous because their blood doesn’t clot properly. In children with ITP, this occurs because the number of platelets, the part of their blood that helps control bleeding, is too low. Immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), sometimes called idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when the body destroys its platelets too quickly. Many children with ITP get better on their own over days, weeks or sometimes months. In other cases, medications may be required in order to alleviate the symptoms of ITP.
- There are two types of ITP: acute and chronic. Acute ITP is the most common.
- In some children, viral infections may trigger ITP.
- The majority of children with ITP get better spontaneously with or without treatment in a few days, weeks, or sometimes months.
- ITP is not contagious, meaning a child can’t catch it from playing with another child who has ITP.
How Children’s Hospital Boston approaches ITP
Children with ITP are treated through the ITP & Platelet Function Disorders Program at Children’s Hospital Boston. Our program focuses on treatment to keep children safe until platelet counts return to healthy levels.
- Our program includes pediatric hematologists who have extensive experience diagnosing and treating all types of childhood platelet disorders.
- We care for children and adolescents, including access to the most recent treatments and unique clinical trials.
- Our team includes world renowned researchers who are seeking to better understand and treat pediatric platelet disorders.
- We host a special website, www.itpkids.org, which offers you helpful information about ITP and its treatment.
|For patients and families|
|Our For Patients and Families website offers a wealth of general information and resources.|
Meet our team
Ellis Neufeld, MD, PhD
Neufeld, MD, PhD, is an experienced pediatric hematologist and an associate chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology. He is also the director of the Thalassemia Program and a professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. He has expertise in the treatment of bleeding and clotting disorders including ITP, thalassemia and thrombosis.
Rachael Grace, MD
Grace, MD, is an experienced pediatric hematologist/oncologist and an instructor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She has expertise in the treatment of bleeding and clotting disorders including ITP. Her clinical research interests include ITP, childhood cancer and thrombosis, and disorders of bleeding and clotting.
Reviewed by Alan Michelson, MD,
© Children’s Hospital Boston, 2010