Vascular dementia in patients with immune thrombocytopenic purpura

Yeon S. Ahn, Lawrence L. Horstman, Wenche Jy, Joaquin J. Jimenez, Brian Bowen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Introduction: Platelets have been implicated in memory disorders but this has not been investigated in patients with immune or idiopathic thrombocytopenia (ITP). ITP is an autoimmune disorder in which autoantibodies bring about platelet destruction. We previously reported a group of ITP patients who manifested TIA-like syndrome and gradual memory loss leading to dementia: platelet microparticles (PMP), a marker of platelet activation, were often elevated, suggesting that procoagulant PMP released from stimulated platelets contributed to thrombosis in small vessels. We have expanded on those studies to better define the clinical, laboratory, and radiologic characteristics of this syndrome. Materials and methods: Twenty ITP patients with this syndrome were studied in comparison to twenty-three ITP patients without it (patient controls). Clinical and laboratory features were compared and radiologic images were analyzed. Factors influencing the rate of progression to advanced dementia were also investigated. Results and conclusion: Recurring dizzy or weak spells, TIA-like syndrome, recent memory loss, and cognitive impairment were common initial complaints. In some, these symptoms progressed rapidly to dementia but was indolent in others. Progression was faster in those with splenectomy and higher platelet counts. MRI showed enhanced signal in subcortical, periventricular areas, consistent with ischemic small vessel disease. Compared to patient controls, bleeding was less frequent and platelet activation (increased PMP, CD62p) was more frequent in the study group. Thrombotic complications may occur in ITP, manifested as TIA-like syndrome or memory loss due to ischemic small vessel disease, progressing to vascular dementia. Memory disturbances associated with platelet disorders warrants further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-344
Number of pages8
JournalThrombosis Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 15 2002


  • Dementia
  • ITP
  • Memory disorder
  • Platelet activation
  • Platelet microparticles
  • Splenectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Hematology


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