Thrombocytopenia occurs when there are not adequate amounts of platelets in the blood. This causes the blood to be unable to clot properly. Pediatric thrombocytopenia refers to this condition in children.
The biggest cause of pediatric thrombocytopenia is immune system thrombocytopenia, also known as idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP). Other causes include infections that occur in a fetus or a newborn as a result of exposure to viruses, bacteria, syphilis, or rubella. Lymphoma, leukemia, bone marrow failure, medication side effects, exposure to toxic substances, and sepsis can also cause pediatric thrombocytopenia.
Symptoms that are associated with pediatric thrombocytopenia include bruising, the occurrence of small red spots known as petechiae on the child’s skin, jaundice, and signs of bleeding within other systems in the body.
Treatment for pediatric thrombocytopenia will depend upon the actual cause of the condition in a particular patient. A blood transfusion that includes platelets might be required.
In children with ITP, treatment may not be required. Instead, the doctor may want to closely monitor the platelet counts while working on preventing any serious bleeding problems in order to let the body heal on its own. When treatments are utilized, they may include steroids, intravenous gamma globulin (IVGG), treatment for an infection, a change in medication if that is the cause of the condition, hormone therapy, splenectomy, and immune globulin.