Blood Disorders

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Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (TTP)

Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) is a rare blood condition that causes blood clots to form in small blood vessels throughout the body, which can cause serious problems if they block blood vessels and limit blood flow to the brain, kidneys, or heart.

There are two main types of TTP: inherited and acquired. Acquired TTP is the more common type that occurs mostly in adults, but it sometimes affects children. The causes are unknown, but it can be triggered by conditions such as pregnancy or infection or diseases such as cancer, HIV, and lupus. Medical procedures such as surgery and bone marrow transplant and certain medications and hormone replacement therapies may induce TTP as well.

In TTP, when blood clots form, there are fewer platelets in the blood. This can cause bleeding into the skin (purpura), prolonged bleeding from cuts, and internal bleeding. It also causes small blood clots to form suddenly throughout the body, including in the brain and kidneys. Symptoms are due to blood clots, a low platelet count, and damaged red blood cells, purplish spots called purpura on the skin or in the mouth, paleness or jaundice, feeling tired or weak, fever, fast heart rate or feeling short of breath, headache, speech changes, confusion, coma, stroke, or seizure, a low amount of urine, or protein or blood in the urine.