Post transfusion purpura (PTP) is an uncommonly reported post transfusion adverse event that can present with severe thrombocytopenia; sometimes resulting in significant bleeding and hemorrhage. Its diagnosis can be elusive given its substantial symptomatic overlap with other thrombocytopenic syndromes. Underdiagnosis and underreporting make the true incidence of disease difficult to define. While clinical suspicion is key, laboratory evidence of platelet-targeted antibodies and identification of the antigen(s) they recognize are necessary to confirm the diagnosis. A curious aspect of PTP is paradoxical destruction of both transfused and autologous platelets. Although the first case was reported over 50 years ago, this aspect of PTP pathogenesis is still not fully understood and is widely debated. Several theories exist, but conclusive evidence to support most is lacking. Despite limited understanding of disease incidence and etiology, treatment with IVIG (Intravenous Immunoglobulin) has become standard practice and can be highly effective. Although recurrence is rare, precautions should be taken if patients with a history of PTP require transfusions in the future.
J Blood Med (Journal of blood medicine)
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