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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, acquired

Other Names for this Disease
  • Idiopathic thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura
  • Moschowitz syndrome
  • Purpura, thrombotic thrombocytopenic
  • TTP
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Your Question

I survived an episode of acute thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. I have since developed heart problems and tremors. Can thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura cause heart and other chronic health problems? 

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

Can thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura cause heart and other chronic health problems?

Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) is a blood disorder that causes blood clots (thrombi) to form in small blood vessels throughout the body.[1] These clots can cause serious medical problems if they block vessels and restrict blood flow to organs such as the brain, kidneys, and heart. Resulting complications can include neurological problems (such as personality changes, headaches, confusion, and slurred speech), fever, abnormal kidney function, abdominal pain, and heart problems.[1] TTP can casue a variety of heart problems, including heart attack, arrhythmia, and congestive heart failure.[1][2][3]. Treatment of TTP with plasma exchange has greatly improved the chance of recovery from acute episodes of TTP.[3] 

Information regarding the long term health consequences of TTP is lacking, however the following recent articles explore this topic further and may be a helpful resource. These articles suggest that people with a history of TTP may be at an increased risk for long term neurological, kidney, blood vessel, and heart complications. 

Viswanathan S, Rovin BH, Shidham GB, Raman SV, Weinberg M, Patricia A, George JN, Wu HM, Cataland SR. Long-term, sub-clinical cardiac and renal complications in patients with multiple relapses of thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. Br J Haematol. 2010 May;149(4):623-5. Epub 2010 Feb 9.

Kennedy AS et al., Cognitive deficits after recovery from thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. Transfusion. 2009;49:1092-1101.

You can search for further relevant journal articles on TTP and chronic health problems through a service called PubMed. PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature. Click here to view a sample search. 

Not all the articles in PubMed are available for free online. To obtain the full article, contact a medical/university library (or your local library for interlibrary loan), or order it online through the publisher's Web site. The National Library of Medicine has a Web page for locating libraries in your area that can provide direct access to journals (print or online). You can access this page at the following link. You can also contact the NLM toll-free at 888-346-3656 to locate libraries in your area.

Last updated: 8/6/2010

Are there research studies or clinical trials enrolling people with thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura?

There is a research consortium called, The Rare Thrombotic Diseases Consortium (RTDC), which is investigating TTP.  The Rare Thrombotic Diseases Consortium aims to improve the lives of people with antiphospholipid antibody syndromes, heparin-induced thrombocytopenia, paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, catastrophic antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (thrombotic storm), and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) through research.

For more information, please contact:

Letitia Talbott
Clinical Research Coordinator
Hemostasis & Thrombosis Center
Box 3422
Duke University Medical Center
Durham, NC 27710

The U.S. National Institutes of Health, through the National Library of Medicine, developed to provide patients, family members, and members of the public with current information on clinical research studies. Currently, clinical trials are identified as enrolling individuals with thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. To find these trials, visit the link below and use 'thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura' as your search term. After you click on a study, review its 'eligibility' criteria to determine its appropriateness. Use the study’s contact information to learn more. Check this site often for regular updates.

You can also contact the Patient Recruitment and Public Liaison Office at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). We recommend calling the toll-free number listed below to speak with a specialist, who can help you determine if there are any other trials for which you may be eligible. 

Patient Recruitment and Public Liaison Office
NIH Clinical Center
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-2655
Toll-free: 800-411-1222
Fax: 301-480-9793
Web site:

If you are interested in enrolling in a clinical trial, you can find helpful general information on clinical trials at the following Web page.

A tutorial about clinical trials that can also help answer your questions can be found at the following link from the National Library of Medicine:

Resources on many charitable or special-fare flights to research and treatment sites and low-cost hospitality accommodations for outpatients and family members, as well as ambulance services, are listed on the Web site of the Office of Rare Diseases Research (ORDR), part of the National Institutes of Health.

Last updated: 8/6/2010

  • Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. Genetics Home Reference. 2008; Accessed 4/7/2011.
  • Gandhi K, Aronow WS, Desai H, Amin H, Sharma M, Lai HM, Singh P. Cardiovascular manifestations in patients with thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura: a single-center experience. Clin Cardiol. 2010 Apr;
  • Brandenburg VM, Gaertner S, Lindemann-Docter K, Ortlepp JR, Westerhuis R, Ketteler M, Westenfeld R, Floege J. Underestimated complications in thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura--haemolytic uraemic syndrome. Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2004 Aug;
  • Viswanathan S, Rovin BH, Shidham GB, Raman SV, Weinberg M, Patricia A, George JN, Wu HM, Cataland SR. Long-term, sub-clinical cardiac and renal complications in patients with multiple relapses of thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. Br J Haematol. 2010 May;