Self-reported diagnostic and management strategies in childhood idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura: Results of a survey of practicing pediatric hematology/oncology specialists

S. Vesely, G. R. Buchanan, A. Cohen, G. Raskob, J. George

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Purpose: To assess current physician self-reported practices regarding initial management of childhood idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) and to determine physician self-reported willingness to participate in randomized clinical trials comparing different initial management strategies. Patients and Methods: A questionnaire was mailed in November 1997 to all 720 members of the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology asking how they would diagnose and manage ITP in children 18 months, 5 years, and 15 years of age who were experiencing either dry purpura (cutaneous hemorrhage only) or wet purpura (active mucous membrane hemorrhage). Specific questions dealt with bone marrow aspiration, hospital admittance, treatment strategy, and specific doses of corticosteroids and intravenous immunoglobulin. Results: The response rate to the questionnaire was 57%. Most respondents indicated they usually perform a bone marrow aspirate when corticosteroids are to be prescribed and administer drug therapy to patients with newly diagnosed ITP with wet or dry purpura. Only 16% of respondents would administer no drug therapy to a child with dry purpura. Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) was preferred to steroids, with anti-D immunoglobulin prescribed less frequently. Hospital admittance often was used for patients with dry purpura and usually recommended for patients with wet purpura. Most respondents expressed willingness to randomize patients with dry purpura to IVIG versus no therapy and those with wet purpura to IVIG versus prednisone as part of a randomized controlled clinical trial. Conclusions: The self-reported care of the patient with ITP was influenced by the severity of presentation (dry versus wet purpura). Most physicians reported they would administer specific drug treatment in both scenarios. This survey illustrates the diverse diagnostic and management strategies currently used in childhood ITP. Because no one therapeutic approach is predominant and a scientific basis for decision making in childhood ITP has not been developed, future randomized trials are warranted. On the basis of these survey results, such trials are desired by most pediatric hematology/oncology specialists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-61
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000


  • Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura
  • Pediatric hematology/oncology
  • Purpura
  • Questionnaire
  • Thrombocytopenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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