Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura: Early and late responders

R. Sarode, J. L. Gottschall, R. H. Aster, J. G. McFarland

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64 Scopus citations


Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) is characterized by micro-angiopathic hemolytic anemia (MAHA), thrombocytopenia, neurological symptoms, renal involvement, and fever. We describe our experience in 70 serially encountered TTP patients in the last decade who were treated with a standard therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) protocol. Seventy percent of the patients were females. The median age of the patients was 43 years (range: 8-80). Sixty patients (85.7%) had a complete response to TPE therapy. This represented 91% of 66 who received at least one TPE. Ten patients died, two patients died before and two during the first plasma exchange. The median number of TPEs performed was nine (range: 1-85). Thirty-five (58%) out of 60 responded to 3-9 TPEs, and 25 (42%) required 10-34 TPEs for the response. The median total plasma volume exchanged was 28 liters (range: 2.7-250 L) and the mean plasma volumes exchanged during each procedure was 3.2 (SD ± 1.09 L). The patients were classified into early responders (ER) and late responders (LR). LRs had a mean platelet count of 180 x 10 9/L by Day 5, mean LDH of 643 IU/L by Day 7, and required median of seven TPEs. ERs had a mean platelet count of 122 x 10 9/L by Day 5, mean LDH of 885 IU/L by Day 7, and required median of 19 TPEs (P = 0.001). The platelet counts were significantly higher (P = 0.01-0.03) in ERs on Days 1, 3, and 5 as compared to LRs but the LDH did not differ significantly. Seventy-seven percent of LRs had exacerbation of TTP and 18% had relapse as compared to 7% each in ERs. Thirteen patients were in coma/semicoma at presentation. Out of these, six died, making coma a bad prognostic indicator. Five of the seven survivors in coma had received two single-plasma volume exchanges on Day 1. In conclusion, 91% of TTP patients had an excellent response to plasma exchange therapy with FFP. Coma/semicoma appears to be a bad prognostic indicator. LRs needed prolonged treatment with a greater number of patients experiencing exacerbation and relapse of TTP as compared to ERs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-107
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Hematology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997


  • coma
  • microangiopathic hemolytic anemia
  • plasma exchange
  • thrombocytopenia
  • thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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