The key difference between ITP and TTP is that ITP is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system inappropriately destroys platelets, while TTP is a blood disorder where blood clots are formed in small blood vessels throughout the body.
Both ITP and TTP are disorders that affect platelets. Blood is made up of different types of cells, such as red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. All these cells are suspended in a liquid medium called plasma. Platelets are the cells that are responsible for making blood clots. When there is an injury, the platelets clump together to block the injury site. During platelets disorders, the injured blood vessels bleed more than usual and heal slowly.
What is ITP?
Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system inappropriately destroys platelets. The platelets are the cells that are responsible for helping blood clot formation in order to prevent excessive bleeding. ITP is due to a defect in the immune system. Antibodies are the proteins produced by the immune system. These antibodies respond to fight off foreign substances such as bacteria, viruses, and other infectious things. In ITP, the immune system produces antibodies inappropriately against platelets. This triggers the immune system to destroy platelets. The cause is not exactly known. However, people who suffer from other autoimmune disorders may have ITP as well. Sometimes, ITP occurs after a viral infection, especially in children.
The symptoms of ITP include bruising, petechiae, bleeding from the gums, blood blisters in the mouth, nose bleeds, heavy menstrual cycles, blood in urine, stool, or vomit, fatigue, and strokes. Often, the complication involved with ITP is excessive bleeding from major organs such as the brain. This catastrophic bleeding can cause anaemia, which may lead to fatigue and exhaustion. The treatments for this disorder are steroid medication to stop the destruction of platelets, intravenous infusion of immunoglobulins, surgical removal of the spleen, medications that stimulate the bone marrow to produce more platelets, and antibody infusions to stop antibody production against platelets. Furthermore, in rare cases, chemotherapy may also be involved in the treatment procedure.
What is TTP?
Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) is a blood disorder where platelets cause clots formation in small blood vessels that results in organ failure. The exact cause of TTP is not known. But it is usually associated with the deficiency of one enzyme called ADAMTS13. Without sufficient amounts of this particular enzyme, excessive blood clotting can occur. This deficiency is normally due to an autoimmune disorder or maybe inherited if a child receives a defective copy of the gene responsible for ADAMTS13 production from each of their parents.
The symptoms of this disorder are headaches, vision changes, confusion, speech changes, seizures, kidney failures, blood in urine, bruising, bleeding in the mouth, pale skin, anaemia, electrolyte imbalances, nausea, vomiting, heavy menstrual cycle, weakness, abdominal pain, etc. Severe life-threatening complications such as multi organs failure: kidney and liver can happen if TTP is not treated properly. Moreover, the treatments include plasma exchange, steroids, and a medication called Cablivi that prevents the development of blood clots.
What are the Similarities Between ITP and TTP?
- ITP and TTP are disorders that affect platelets.
- Both ITP and TTP can be due to autoimmune disorders.
- They can cause complications.
- Both ITP and TTP can cause bleeding in various parts of the body.
What is the Difference Between ITP and TTP?
ITP is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system inappropriately destroys platelets, while TTP is a blood disorder where blood clots are formed in small blood vessels causing organ failures. So, this is the key difference between ITP and TTP. Furthermore, ITP is due to the immune system that produces antibodies inappropriately against platelets to destroy them. On the other hand, TTP is due to a deficiency of an enzyme called ADAMTS13 because of an autoimmune disorder or an inherited condition.
The below infographic lists the differences between ITP and TTP in tabular form for side by side comparison.
Summary – ITP vs TTP
Platelets are responsible for making blood clots. ITP and TTP are two disorders that affect platelets. In ITP, the immune system inappropriately destroys platelets, while in TTP, blood clots are formed in small blood vessels throughout the body. Thus, this is the summary of the difference between ITP and TTP.
1.“Immune Thrombocytopenia (Itp).” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 25 Feb. 2021.
2. “Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura.” National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
1. “Oral petechiae” By Mdscottis – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (TTP)” By Erhabor Osaro (Associate Professor) – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia