Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (TTP) and Splenectomy: A Current Appraisal

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Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) is a disease process characterized by microangiopathic anemia, fever, neurologic manifestations, renal abnormalities, and thrombocytopenia. These clinical findings are caused by vascular occlusions of the microcirculation. At present the utilization of splenectomy, in the treatment of this illness, remains a highly controversial subject. However, review of the literature reveals that 70% of the long term survivors of TTP had undergone splenectomy. This report presents five patients with TTP, four of whom had been splenectomized. Long term survival (greater than one year) was achieved in three individuals. It is recommended that splenectomy be considered as part of the initial management of all patients with TTP, in addition to high dose corticosteroids and antiplatelet drugs.

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