Bacterial infection-associated improvement of platelet counts in two patients with chronic and unresponsive idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura with normal platelet survival studies

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Approximately 20 percent of adult patients with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) do not respond to splenectomy and require alternative therapies to achieve a clinically safe platelet count. A small percentage of these patients have very refractory disease and are either unresponsive or poorly responsive to almost any therapy. In this report we describe two patients with chronic and unresponsive ITP with normal platelet survivals. Neither patient had responded to a large variety of treatments including corticosteroids, splenectomy, IVIgG, anti-D, chemotherapy, and ascorbic acid. However, both had a rapid, but short-lived, rise in their platelet count following a bacterial infection. One patient had a rise in platelet count for 6 months following the acute episode of bacteraemia. The second patient had a shorter response of 1 week. It is possible that these two patients represent a subset of patients with ITP who may benefit from cytokine therapy.

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