Postoperative thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura.
Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) is a rare, life-threatening disease characterized by acute episodes of thrombocytopenia and microangiopathic hemolytic anemia occurring due to platelet and von Willebrand factor deposition and hyaline thrombi formation in arterioles and capillaries throughout the body, which results in organ ischemia. TTP can be idiopathic or secondary, and there are several causes of secondary TTP. There is a clinical syndrome resembling TTP that occurs after surgical procedures, so-called "postoperative TTP" (pTTP). In this review, the differential diagnosis, pathogenesis and clinical and laboratory features of pTTP, together with the treatment modalities and outcomes of the patients, are discussed. The pTTP is a diagnosis of exclusion, and disseminated intravascular coagulation, heparin-induced thrombocytopenia and medication-induced effects should be ruled out. As in classical TTP, patients with pTTP should be diagnosed and treated with therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) as early as possible to reduce their morbidity and mortality. Although rarely seen, surgeons and physicians of all specialties should be alert to the possibility of pTTP, and since pTTP is a life-threatening event that usually can be treated successfully with TPE, especially when diagnosed early in its course, it is critical to recognize and treat pTTP promptly.