Prevention of relapse in patients with acquired thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura undergoing elective surgery: a case series

Sara Arcudi, Barbara Ferrari, Silvia Pontiggia, Antonella Tufano, A. Artoni, Illaria Mancini, Flora Peyvandi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Essentials Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) is a life-threatening disease. Surgery is a possible trigger of acute TTP episodes and no guidelines are available. Six patients with severe ADAMTS-13 deficiency during remission underwent elective surgery. Patients were prophylactically treated to restore ADAMTS-13 activity and no relapses occurred. Summary: Background Severe ADAMTS-13 deficiency has been recognized as the main risk factor for recurrence of thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP). Several conditions, including surgery, may influence the levels of ultra-large von Willebrand factor and ADAMTS-13, acting as a trigger for an acute TTP event. Objectives To report our experience of management of six patients with acquired TTP who underwent elective surgery after prophylactic treatment to restore ADAMTS-13 activity levels. Patients Six patients followed for acquired TTP with severe ADAMTS-13 deficiency during remission were candidates for seven elective surgeries (inguinal hernioplasty, cholecystectomy, laparoscopic hysterectomy, oophorectomy, parotidectomy and two total hip arthroplasties). Results Four patients were treated with prophylactic plasma exchange (PEX) therapy immediately before surgery. One patient was treated with PEX therapy before her first surgery and with preemptive rituximab once her second surgery was scheduled. Because rituximab increased ADAMTS-13 levels only partially, she required one PEX procedure the day before her second surgery. One patient was treated with azathioprine after rituximab failure, obtaining a progressive increase of ADAMTS-13 activity to more than 40%. This level allowed her to undergo total hip arthroplasty without additional treatment. All surgeries were successful and no complications or relapses occurred. Conclusions Six patients with acquired TTP underwent seven successful surgical procedures using prophylaxis to restore ADAMTS-13 activity. Further observational studies or randomized clinical trials are needed to confirm whether prophylactic PEX could be the key factor in preventing relapse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)492-498
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2019


  • ADAMTS-13 protein
  • general surgery
  • plasmapheresis
  • purpura, thrombotic thrombocytopenic
  • von Willebrand factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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