Background: Diagnosis and management of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) have been based primarily on expert opinion and practice guidelines rather than on evidence. We have used a registry to prospectively survey the presenting features and the diagnostic evaluation and management practices used for children with ITP worldwide. Methods: We used the Intercontinental Childhood ITP Registry which had been widely advertised. 209 physicians from 136 institutions in 38 countries participated by submitting data for each of their newly diagnosed patients. Data from 2031 children with ITP was registered between June, 1997, and May, 2000, and we analysed 6-month follow-up data from 1496 children. Findings: There was a peak in occurrence of childhood ITP during spring and a nadir in the autumn. Mean initial platelet count was 15.4×109/L (SD 19.7). 1447 (73%) of 1976 children were admitted to hospital. Initial management consisted of no drug treatment in 612 (31%), intravenous immunoglobulin in 576 (29%), corticosteroids in 651 (33%), or both in 137 (7%) patients. Intracranial haemorrhage was reported in two patients. Interpretation: The variable approaches to management of childhood ITP demonstrate the need for prospective clinical trials, which should be feasible within such a study group.
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