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Platelet deficiency (thrombocytopenia) or dysfunction

A variety of other rare inherited conditions may cause platelet disorders


  • Bone marrow not making enough — bone marrow failure
  • Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), decreased platelets, cause unknown, thought to have autoimmune cause. May go away on its own in children but adults usually require treatment with suppression of the immune system. 
  • Drugs such as heparin, quinine, sulfa antibiotics, and gold salts may decrease number of platelets
  • Drugs such as aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may cause dysfunctional platelets
  • Disease related: HIV, liver disease, kidney failure, leukaemia, multiple myeloma, cirrhosis of the liver, and systemic lupus erythematosus may all cause decreased platelet counts
  • Massive blood replacement (platelets don’t last in stored blood)
  • Cardiopulmonary bypass surgery (platelets are activated and become deficient and dysfunctional)

Last Review Date: May 1, 2018