The treatment of immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) still offers challenges to clinicians and health professional organizations, despite recommendations provided by international guidelines. In order to improve the care of patients with ITP, it is useful to understand how often such patients receive appropriate treatment and if common errors occur that could be avoided. We retrospectively analyzed all the clinical records between 1 January, 2000 and 31 December, 2002 of patients receiving an ICD-9-CM diagnosis code of 287.3 in three hospitals in northern Italy. We examined whether management strategies of adult men and nonpregnant women with ITP were consistent or not with the guidelines provided by the American Society of Hematology. The ITP diagnosis was confirmed in 120 of 169 patients (71%). Reasons for admission were: medical treatment for ITP (51.7%), medical or surgical treatment of ITP-associated disorders (30.8%), elective splenectomy (15.8%) and diagnosis or observation of ITP (1.7%). Hospital admission resulted appropriate in 78.1% of cases. Therapeutic interventions were appropriate in 100% of cases for glucocorticoid treatment, 86.4% for splenectomy, 47.7% for high-dose immunoglobulins, 40.9% for prophylaxis against bleeding before splenectomy, 33.3% for high-dose glucocorticoid treatment, and 19% for prophylaxis against bacterial infections before splenectomy. Platelet transfusions as treatment for bleeding were appropriate in only 20% of cases. Confirming the usefulness of the American guidelines for ITP, our data suggest that there are important areas of inappropriate management of the disease, which could be corrected by adopting quality improvement programs and studies.
- Immune thrombocytopenic purpura
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