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Congenital platelet function defects

Platelet storage pool disorder; Glanzmann's thrombasthenia; Bernard-Soulier syndrome; Platelet function defects - congenital

Congenital platelet function defects are conditions that prevent clotting elements in the blood, called platelets, from working as they should. Platelets help the blood clot. Congenital means present from birth.

Causes

Congenital platelet function defects are bleeding disorders that cause reduced platelet function.

Most of the time, people with these disorders have a family history of a bleeding disorder, such as:

  • Bernard-Soulier syndrome occurs when platelets lack a substance that sticks to the walls of blood vessels. Platelets are typically large and of reduced number. This disorder may cause severe bleeding.
  • Glanzmann thrombasthenia is a condition caused by the lack of a protein needed for platelets to clump together. Platelets are typically of normal size and number. This disorder may also cause severe bleeding.
  • Platelet storage pool disorder (also called platelet secretion disorder) occurs when substances called granules inside platelets aren't stored or released properly. Granules help platelets function properly. This disorder causes easy bruising or bleeding.

Symptoms

Symptoms may include any of the following:

  • Excessive bleeding during and after surgery
  • Bleeding gums
  • Easy bruising
  • Heavy menstrual periods
  • Nosebleeds
  • Prolonged bleeding with small injuries

Exams and Tests

The following tests may be used to diagnose this condition:

You may need other tests. Your relatives may need to be tested.

Treatment

There is no specific treatment for these disorders. However, your health care provider will likely monitor your condition.

You may also need:

  • To avoid taking aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen, because they can worsen bleeding symptoms.
  • Platelet transfusions, such as during surgery or dental procedures.

Outlook (Prognosis)

There is no cure for congenital platelet function disorders. Most of the time, treatment can control the bleeding.

Possible Complications

Complications may include:

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider if:

  • You have bleeding or bruising and do not know the cause.
  • Bleeding does not respond to the usual method of control.

Prevention

A blood test can detect the gene responsible for the platelet defect. You may wish to seek genetic counseling if you have a family history of this problem and are considering having children.

References

Arnold DM, Zeller MP, Smith JW, Nazy I. Diseases of platelet number: immune thrombocytopenia, neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia, and posttransfusion purpura. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ, Silberstein LE, et al, eds. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 131.

Hall JE. Hemostasis and blood coagulation. In: Hall JE, ed. Guyton and Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 37.

Nichols WL. Von Willebrand disease and hemorrhagic abnormalities of platelet and vascular function. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 173.

  • Blood clot formation

    Blood clot formation - illustration

    Blood clotting normally occurs when there is damage to a blood vessel. Platelets immediately begin to adhere to the cut edges of the vessel and release chemicals to attract even more platelets. A platelet plug is formed, and the external bleeding stops. Next, small molecules, called clotting factors, cause strands of blood-borne materials, called fibrin, to stick together and seal the inside of the wound. Eventually, the cut blood vessel heals and the blood clot dissolves after a few days.

    Blood clot formation

    illustration

  • Blood clots

    Blood clots - illustration

    Blood clots (fibrin clots) are the clumps that result when blood coagulates.

    Blood clots

    illustration

    • Blood clot formation

      Blood clot formation - illustration

      Blood clotting normally occurs when there is damage to a blood vessel. Platelets immediately begin to adhere to the cut edges of the vessel and release chemicals to attract even more platelets. A platelet plug is formed, and the external bleeding stops. Next, small molecules, called clotting factors, cause strands of blood-borne materials, called fibrin, to stick together and seal the inside of the wound. Eventually, the cut blood vessel heals and the blood clot dissolves after a few days.

      Blood clot formation

      illustration

    • Blood clots

      Blood clots - illustration

      Blood clots (fibrin clots) are the clumps that result when blood coagulates.

      Blood clots

      illustration

    A Closer Look

     
     

    Review Date: 1/29/2019

    Reviewed By: Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

    The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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