Thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) is an autoimmune related bleeding disorder in which the immune system destroys platelets, which are necessary for normal blood clotting. Persons with the disease have too few platelets in the blood. TTP is sometimes called immune thrombocytopenic purpura or simply, immune thrombocytopenia. TTP occurs when certain immune system cells produce antibodies against platelets. The antibodies attach to the platelets. The spleen destroys the platelets that carry the antibodies. In children, the disease sometimes follows a viral infection. In adults, it is more often a chronic (long-term) disease and can occur after a viral infection, with use of certain drugs, during pregnancy, or as part of an immune disorder.
TTP affects women more often than men, and is more common in children than adults. The disease affects boys and girls equally. TTP symptoms can include any of the following: abnormally heavy menstruation, bleeding into the skin, often around the shins, causing a skin rash that looks like pinpoint red spots (petechial rash), easy bruising, and nosebleed or bleeding in the mouth. With treatment, the chance of remission (a symptom-free period) is good. In rare cases, TTP may become a long-term condition and reappear, even after a symptom-free period.« Back to Glossary Index