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Long-term Outcomes of Incidental Thrombocytopenia
Patient information: See related handout on low platelet count , written by the authors of this article. It is often discovered incidentally when obtaining a complete blood count during an office visit. The etiology usually is not obvious, and additional investigation is required. Patients who present with thrombocytopenia as part of a multisystem disorder usually are ill and require urgent evaluation and treatment. During pregnancy, preeclampsia and the HELLP hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count syndrome are associated with thrombocytopenia. Patients with isolated thrombocytopenia commonly have drug-induced thrombocytopenia, immune thrombocytopenic purpura, pseudothrombocytopenia, or if pregnant, gestational thrombocytopenia. A history, physical examination, and laboratory studies can differentiate patients who require immediate intervention from those who can be treated in the outpatient setting. Treatment is based on the etiology and, in some cases, treating the secondary cause results in normalization of platelet counts.
Thrombocytopenia is a condition characterized by abnormally low levels of thrombocytes , also known as platelets, in the blood. A normal human platelet count ranges from , to , platelets per microliter of blood. One common definition of thrombocytopenia requiring emergency treatment is a platelet count below 50, per microliter. Thrombocytopenia usually has no symptoms and is picked up on a routine full blood count or complete blood count.