AbstractBACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) is an acquired autoimmune disease characterized by platelet destruction. Glucocorticoids are the first-choice treatment, resulting in a complete (CR) or partial (PR) response in 70-80% of cases. In most cases, however, response is transient or glucocorticoid-dependent. For these and for selected patients with acute refractory ITP, splenectomy may produce a good response (CR+PR) in about 60-80% of cases. We report here the long-term outcome of a large cohort of ITP splenectomized patients. DESIGN AND METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed the data on 402 patients (137 males, 265 females) who underwent splenectomy for ITP between 1959 and 2002 in 22 different Hematology Centers. RESULTS: Seventy-nine of the 345 (23%) responsive patients relapsed, in most cases (80%) within 48 months from splenectomy. Sixty-eight out of these 79 patients (86%) were then treated with a good response in 46/68 (68%) cases. Fifty-four of the 57 patients refractory to splenectomy and were treated, after the surgery, with a good response in 27/54 (50%) cases. Infection and thrombosis did not significantly weigh upon the outcome of the patients. Only three patients died of hemorrhage during follow-up. By multivariate analysis, the number of therapies before (p<0.01) and higher peak post-splenectomy platelet count (p<0.00001) were predictive of a favorable response to splenectomy, whereas only higher post-splenectomy peak platelet count (p<0.001) was predictive of relapse. INTERPRETATION AND CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that splenectomy is a safe procedure and effective in approximately two thirds of patients with chronic ITP. Further studies are required to establish whether surgery-sparing treatments of chronic ITP, such as high-dose dexamethasone, anti-D and anti-CD20 immunoglobulins, have similar or even superior efficacy, risk and cost ratios compared to splenectomy.
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Vol. 90 No. 1 (2005): January, 2005 : Articles
Ferrata Storti Foundation, Pavia, Italy
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