Platelet disorders in the elderly

Laura Terranova, Giancarla Gerli, Marco Cattaneo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Thrombocytopenia: Platelets are derived from megakaryocytes in the bone marrow, but they can also be released from circulating megakaryocytes that regularly inhabit the capillaries of the lung. Platelet turnover is about 2 × 1011 per day; the platelet lifespan is 8–10 days. Platelets distribute between the circulation and the spleen. In normal individuals, the splenic pool, which corresponds to approximately 30–40% of the total, is in dynamic equilibrium with the circulating pool and is proportional to the splenic mass. Splenic enlargement from a variety of causes is associated with a great increase in the proportion of platelets sequestered in the spleen, which is presumed to represent slower transit of platelets through the enlarged or congested splenic pulp. Platelet destruction results from phagocytosis by macrophages of the hepatic and splenic reticuloendothelial system. Thrombocytopenia can be defined as a persistent fall in the platelet count below 150 × 109/L. It can be “mild,” when the platelet count is between 100 and 150 × 109/L, “moderate” (50–99 × 109/L), “severe” (20–49× 109/L), and “extremely severe” (

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBlood Disorders in the Elderly
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9780511545238, 9780521875738
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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