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Hematol Oncol Stem Cell Ther


BACKGROUND: Thrombocytopenia is a frequently encountered laboratory abnormality and a common reason for hematology referrals. Workup for thrombocytopenia is not standardized and frequently does not follow an evidence-based algorithm. We conducted a systematic analysis to evaluate the laboratory testing and outcomes of patients evaluated for thrombocytopenia at hematology clinics in a tertiary referral center between 2013 and 2016.

PATIENT AND METHODS: We performed a comprehensive chart review for patients evaluated for thrombocytopenia during the study period. Patients were followed for 1 year from the initial hematology evaluation and assessed for the development of a hematologic malignancy, rheumatologic, or infectious diseases among other clinical outcomes.

RESULTS: We evaluated 472 patients with a median (range) age of 61 (17-94) years. The majority (63.8%) had mild thrombocytopenia. Within 1 year of follow-up, 14 patients (3.0%) were diagnosed with a hematologic malignancy. A higher likelihood of developing a hematologic malignancy was noted in patients with concurrent leukopenia (hazard ratio [HR] 9.97, 95% confidence interval [CI] 3.28-30.32, p < .01) and increasing age (HR per 10-year deciles 1.52, 95% CI 1.03-2.25, p = .03). In patients with asymptomatic isolated mild thrombocytopenia, laboratory testing did not reveal any significant positive findings and patients did not receive any new major diagnosis during the follow-up period.

CONCLUSION: Our findings provide basis and call for development of an evidence-based algorithmic approach for evaluation of patients with thrombocytopenia, testing, and referrals. It also supports a conservative approach mainly driven by physical exam signs, symptoms, and other laboratory findings for patients with isolated mild thrombocytopenia.


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ePub ahead of print