Annals of hematology

Immune thrombocytopenia in the elderly: clinical course in 525 patients from a single center in China.

PMID 22956151


Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP), often diagnosed in the elderly, is a hematologic disorder induced by autoimmune mechanism. In this retrospective study, we evaluated the clinical features, the risk of bleeding, and the response to treatment in 525 elderly ITP patients (age ≥60 years) diagnosed at our center from 1980 to 2009. There were more females at 60-74 years of age (P = 0.044). The median duration of follow-up was 27 months (range 1-253 months). Ten patients developed thrombosis during treatment of ITP. At diagnosis, 461 patients (87.8 %) had signs of bleeding. The risk of severe bleeding was associated with both platelet count (P < 0.001; odds ratio (OR), 0.973) and age (P = 0.025; OR, 1.039). The cutoff points in the platelet count at which bleeding and severe bleeding would begin to appear were 29.5 × 10(9) and 21.5 × 10(9)/L, respectively. Sixteen of 144 patients (11.1 %) who did not receive any treatment achieved remission spontaneously. The total response rate to treatment was 62.4 % (166/266). The median time to remission was 7 days, and combined use of intravenous immunoglobulin and steroids took effect faster than use of steroids alone (P = 0.001). Fifty-two patients (31.3 %) relapsed during follow-up. Of the 27 patients who died during follow-up, seven deaths were directly attributed to ITP. In conclusion, the response rate has been improved since the last 10 years. ITP is also a self-limited disease to some extent in the elderly, but easy to relapse. This review represents the largest collection of elderly ITP patients in China in a single center.