Splenectomy for immune thrombocytopenic purpura: Long-term results and treatment of postsplenectomy relapses

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Information regarding prognostic determinants of outcome after splenectomy for adult immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) and the management of postsplenectomy relapse is limited. Among 140 adult patients with ITP who had therapeutic splenectomy at our institution, 88% achieved either a complete (platelets > 150×109/l) or a partial (platelets ≥ 50×109/l) response that was sustained for at least 1 month. At 3, 6, and 12 months after splenectomy, time-adjusted complete response rates were 77%, 71%, and 74%, respectively. The 5-year relapse-free survival was 75%; all but three relapses occurred within 2 years of splenectomy. In multivariate analysis, younger age and higher peak postsplenectomy platelet counts were significantly associated with a favorable response to splenectomy. None of several preoperative or perioperative variables was predictive of a relapse after an initial response to splenectomy. Corticosteroids, danazol, vincristine, and cyclophosphamide were often effective in the treatment of patients who were either refractory to or had a relapse after splenectomy. One patient responded to rituximab after not responding to corticosteroids, azathioprine, and vincristine. After a median follow-up of 37.5 months (range: 0-183) from splenectomy, there were 25 deaths, including 2 from postoperative complications, 1 from gastrointestinal bleeding related to thrombocytopenia, and 1 from overwhelming sepsis related to the splenectomized state. The current study provides additional data on both the long-term outcome of splenectomy in adults with ITP and the management of postsplenectomy relapse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)312-319
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of hematology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2002


  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Corticosteroids
  • Immune thrombocytopenic purpura
  • Splenectomy
  • Thrombocytopenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


Dive into the research topics of 'Splenectomy for immune thrombocytopenic purpura: Long-term results and treatment of postsplenectomy relapses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this