Back to Journals » Journal of Blood Medicine » Volume 10

Post-Transfusion Purpura: Current Perspectives

Authors Hawkins J, Aster RH, Curtis BR

Received 21 September 2019

Accepted for publication 22 November 2019

Published 9 December 2019 Volume 2019:10 Pages 405—415


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Martin H Bluth

Jaleah Hawkins,1 Richard H Aster,2,3 Brian R Curtis2,3

1Versiti, Blood Center of Michigan, Grand Rapids, MI, USA; 2Versiti, Blood Center of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, USA; 3Blood Research Institute, Milwaukee, WI, USA

Correspondence: Brian R Curtis
Versiti, Blood Center of Wisconsin, P.O. Box 2178, Milwaukee, WI 53201-2178, USA
Tel +1 414 937 6087
Fax +1 414 937 6242

Abstract: Post transfusion purpura (PTP) is an uncommonly reported post transfusion adverse event that can present with severe thrombocytopenia; sometimes resulting in significant bleeding and hemorrhage. Its diagnosis can be elusive given its substantial symptomatic overlap with other thrombocytopenic syndromes. Underdiagnosis and underreporting make the true incidence of disease difficult to define. While clinical suspicion is key, laboratory evidence of platelet-targeted antibodies and identification of the antigen(s) they recognize are necessary to confirm the diagnosis. A curious aspect of PTP is paradoxical destruction of both transfused and autologous platelets. Although the first case was reported over 50 years ago, this aspect of PTP pathogenesis is still not fully understood and is widely debated. Several theories exist, but conclusive evidence to support most is lacking. Despite limited understanding of disease incidence and etiology, treatment with IVIG (Intravenous Immunoglobulin) has become standard practice and can be highly effective. Although recurrence is rare, precautions should be taken if patients with a history of PTP require transfusions in the future.

Keywords: thrombocytopenia, platelet antibodies, transfusion reactions

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]