Immune thrombocytopenia — or immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) —
happens when the immune
system, which fights germs and infections, attacks the body's platelets. Platelets
are cells that stop bleeding by forming blood clots. Without enough platelets, kids
with the condition bleed easily.
In most children, immune thrombocytopenia
(throm-buh-sye-tuh-PEE-nee-uh) goes away within 6 months. But sometimes it can last
longer, or come back after going away.
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Immune Thrombocytopenia?
small red or purple spots on the skin called petechiae (peh-TEE-kee-eye)
purple spots that look like bruises called purpura (PURR-pyur-ah)
Very rarely, immune thrombocytopenia can cause bleeding in the brain (a stroke).
What Causes Immune Thrombocytopenia?
Immune thrombocytopenia happens when the immune system attacks platelets. Viral
infections often trigger this in children. Less commonly, another illness or autoimmune
disease or a medicine can trigger ITP. Often, it isn't clear what triggers the immune
system to attack platelets.
Who Gets Immune Thrombocytopenia?
Most cases of childhood immune thrombocytopenia happen in kids 1–7 years
old. But it can happen in older kids and teens. Usually, the child is otherwise healthy
and feels well.