Published: 2022-07-25

Severe autoimmune thrombocytopenia in a neonate secondary to maternal immune thrombocytopenia: a case report

Rufaida Mazahir, Neha Kumari, Shahzad Alam, Rupa Singh


Neonatal thrombocytopenia is one of the common haematological problems encountered in neonatal intensive care unit. Severe neonatal thrombocytopenia is defined as a platelet count <50×103/µl and is relatively uncommon. Based on the time-of-onset, neonatal thrombocytopenia can be categorized into early-onset (<72 h after birth) and late-onset (>72 h after birth) thrombocytopenia. Neonatal autoimmune thrombocytopenia should be considered in any neonate who has early-onset thrombocytopenia and a maternal history of either immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) or an autoimmune disease (with or without thrombocytopenia). A term male baby, born to a 23-year-old primi-gravida with ITP was found to be thrombocytopenic at birth (platelets-85×103/µl) without any sign of neonatal sepsis. On serial monitoring, platelet counts kept falling and on day 3, the child developed severe thrombocytopenia (platelets-6.5×103/µl). No obvious signs of bleeding were present and the child was clinically well. Given the history of maternal thrombocytopenia (likely ITP), a possibility of neonatal autoimmune thrombocytopenia was considered. Owing to the risk of massive bleed, the baby was transfused random donor platelets and intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) was started on day 3. Thereafter, the platelets showed an increasing trend and child was discharged on day 7 with a platelet count of 170×103/µl. However, on follow-up platelet count was again found to be low (84×103/µl). It normalised subsequently, without any further requirement of IVIg. High index of suspicion, immediate work-up and diagnosis, with close monitoring and prompt management is required to prevent hemorrhagic complications in such children. Counselling for risk of thrombocytopenia in future pregnancies should be provided to parents.


Neonatal thrombocytopenia, Autoimmune, IVIg

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