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What Causes Immune Thrombocytopenia?

In most cases, an autoimmune response is thought to cause immune thrombocytopenia (ITP).

Normally, your immune system helps your body fight off infections and diseases. In ITP, however, your immune system attacks and destroys your body's platelets by mistake. Why this happens isn't known.

In some people, ITP may be linked to viral or bacterial infections, such as HIV, hepatitis C, or H. pylori.

Children who have acute (short-term) ITP often have had recent viral infections. These infections may "trigger" or set off the immune reaction that leads to ITP.

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Immune Thrombocytopenia Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. To find clinical trials that are currently underway for Immune Thrombocytopenia, visit

March 14, 2012 Last Updated Icon

The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.