Immune Thrombocytopenia (ITP) | Symptoms & Causes

What are the symptoms of immune thrombocytopenia?

There are two types of immune thrombocytopenia (ITP). Acute thrombocytopenia is the most common form of ITP — accounting for more than 90 percent of cases — and occurring between the ages of 2 and 6. The symptoms of acute thrombocytopenia:

  • arise suddenly and usually disappear in less than six months, often within a few weeks
  • usually do not recur after the child gets better

Chronic thrombocytopenia is more common in adults but can occur in children. The symptoms of chronic ITP:

  • last a minimum of six months and can persist for many years.
  • can require regular follow-up care with a hematologist (a doctor who specializes in blood disorders)

What causes ITP

While ITP in children often arises after a viral infection, for the majority of cases the cause is unknown. Luckily, acute ITP, the most common form, usually goes away on its own over the course of weeks or months, sometimes without treatment. Chronic ITP appears most frequently in adults, but occasionally is seen in children. This form of ITP is more serious, lasting for years and typically requiring specialized care.