Table of contents:

Video: Thrombocytopenia
Video: Thrombocytopenia | Why Is My Platelet Count Low? 2023, February

Thrombocytopenia: what is it?

Platelets (thrombocytes) are formed in the bone marrow and play an important role in blood clotting. In addition to the so-called blood coagulation factors, platelets are responsible for the formation of blood clots (thrombi, the majority of thrombus). These can, for example, stop the bleeding caused by an injury to a blood vessel. However, if thrombi are formed in excess, there is a risk of vascular obstruction and embolism.


  • Continue reading
  • more on the subject
  • Advice, downloads & tools
  • definition
  • causes
  • Symptoms
  • Diagnosis & Therapy
  • Whom can I ask?
  • How are the costs going to be covered?


If the number of blood platelets is reduced (less than 150,000 / µl), one speaks of thrombopenia or thrombocytopenia. Depending on the severity, this can lead to a tendency to bleed and is one of the most common causes. If the platelets are otherwise functional, a tendency to bleeding must only be expected if the number of platelets falls below 50,000 / µl. If the number falls below 10,000 / µl, life-threatening spontaneous bleeding can occur.


Thrombocytopenia can have a variety of causes:

  • Reduction in platelet formation in the bone marrow (e.g. through chemotherapy),
  • Diseases of the bone marrow (e.g. malignant tumors, leukemia),
  • Vitamin and iron deficiency,
  • Enlargement of the spleen (increased storage of blood platelets),
  • shortened life span of the platelets,
  • Immune and autoimmune diseases as well
  • Side effects of drugs and blood transfusions.

However, it is often unclear how the platelet count is reduced. In addition, a distinction is made between congenital (associated with a disruption of platelet formation or its function) and forms acquired during life (much more frequently).

to shape

The group of thrombocytopenia includes the following clinical pictures:

  • Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP),
  • Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (TTP),
  • drug-induced thrombocytopenic purpura,
  • heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) as well
  • Post-transfusion purpura (PTP).


Characteristic of thrombocytopenia are punctiform bleeding of the skin and mucous membranes, so-called petechiae. These occur primarily on the lower legs first. If the bleeding tendency is stronger, bruises can already occur after slight bruises. Other symptoms include bleeding from the nose and gums, an increased tendency to bleed after operations and increased and prolonged menstrual periods in women.

Diagnosis & Therapy

To make the diagnosis, the medical history (anamnesis) is taken by the doctor and blood is drawn. A physical exam will be performed. A bone marrow aspiration may also be necessary for further clarification. The urine is also examined in the laboratory.

The number of platelets in the blood is determined as part of the blood count examination. The level of the platelet count allows conclusions to be drawn about:

  • the bone marrow function,
  • Inflammatory reactions in the body (often associated with an increase in platelets) and to

    blood clotting.

Note The normal values ​​for platelets can be found under Laboratory. In addition to determining the platelet count, there are a number of other laboratory tests for assessing the blood coagulation system.

A blood smear can also be used to assess the shape of the platelets. So-called platelet function tests provide information about the blood platelet function with a normal platelet count.


The therapy for thrombocytopenia depends on the respective type and a possible underlying disease. You can find more information under the specific clinical pictures.

Whom can I ask?

If the first symptoms indicate thrombocytopenia, contact your (pediatric) doctor or the nearest outpatient clinic immediately or, in emergencies, call the emergency number (144). Once the diagnosis has been made, there is a defined treatment and emergency plan and the relevant contact person. Patients should always be connected to a coagulation clinic that works with resident doctors.

How are the costs going to be covered?

All necessary and appropriate therapeutic and diagnostic measures are taken over by the health insurance carriers. Basically, your doctor or the outpatient clinic will settle accounts directly with your health insurance provider. With certain health insurance providers, however, you may have to pay a deductible (BVAEB, SVS, SVS, BVAEB). However, you can also use a doctor of your choice (ie doctor without a health insurance contract) or a private outpatient clinic. For more information, see Costs and Deductibles and What does the hospital stay cost?

Popular by topic