Thrombocytopenia is a condition in which there are too few platelets, the blood cells that prevent bleeding. Many things can cause thrombocytopenia in children, most commonly infections (especially viral infections) and destruction of platelets by the immune system (called immune thrombocytopenia or ITP). Children with thrombocytopenia may also have lower numbers of other blood cell types, such as red and white blood cells, depending on the cause.

Without enough platelets, a child may bleed more easily, including:

  • into the skin (bruising)
  • from mucosal surfaces (nosebleeds, mouth bleeds, intestinal bleeding, urinary bleeding, and/or excessive menstrual periods)
  • sometimes into organs.

Excessive bleeding, or hemorrhage, can be dangerous and affect the brain or major body functions.

How Dana-Farber/Boston Children's approaches thrombocytopenia

Children and teens with thrombocytopenia are treated through the Blood Disorders Center at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, an integrated pediatric hematology and oncology partnership between Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children's Hospital – and a world leader in the treatment and research of all types of pediatric blood disorders.

Learn more

Learn more about thrombocytopenia on the Dana-Farber/Boston Children's website.