Pediatric chronic immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is a rare blood disorder. People who have it do not have enough platelets in their blood. 


Without platelets, it is harder for the blood to clot. This can lead to bruising and bleeding.

Blood clotting without platelets graphic

ITP can be scary, but there is good news:

  • It's not cancer
  • It's not contagious
  • It may be managed with treatment

What are the different ways chronic ITP can affect my child?

In children with chronic ITP, platelets drop to dangerously low levels. Why does this happen?

  • Their immune system may attack healthy platelets
  • Their body doesn’t create enough platelets to make up for the platelet destruction

Image of platelet destruction and lower platelet production in pediatric ITP


Is it acute or chronic ITP?

There are many important differences between acute and chronic ITP.

Acute ITP

  • Lasts less than 6 months
  • With treatment, it may go away on its own within a few weeks or months and not return
  • More common in children ages 10 and younger

Chronic ITP

  • Lasts 6 months or longer
  • Often requires further treatment
  • More common if ITP is diagnosed after the age of 10

Doctors start out treating all ITP as acute ITP. When those treatment options don’t work, it may be time to try chronic treatment options. You and your child’s doctor should discuss a treatment approach that fits your family’s lifestyle.