Depression and cognitive deficits as long-term consequences of thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura

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Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) is an acute life-threatening microangiopathy with a tendency of relapse characterized by consumptive thrombocytopenia, microangiopathic hemolytic anemia, and spontaneous von Willebrand factor–induced platelet clumping leading to microthrombi. The brain is frequently affected by microthrombi leading to neurologic abnormalities of varying severity.


The aim of this observational cohort study was to investigate the prevalence of depression and cognitive deficits in 104 patients having survived acute TTP. TTP survivors were repeatedly assessed by means of different standardized questionnaires to evaluate depression (IDS-SR) and mental performance (FLei). We received answers of 104 individual TTP patients and 55 of them participated in both surveys.


Seventy-one of the 104 responding TTP patients (68%) suffered from depression and the severity of depression was similar in both surveys performed 1 year apart. Furthermore, TTP patients had considerably lower cognitive performance than controls. There was no correlation between prevalence of depression and cognitive deficits and the number and the severity of acute episodes. Impairment of mental performance correlated with the severity of depression (rs = 0.779).


The prevalence of depression and cognitive deficits was significantly higher in TTP patients. Cognitive impairment seemed to be a consequence of depression, almost independently of number and severity of TTP episodes.

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