Sixteen patients with chronic idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura underwent splenectomy after failure of steroid therapy. The average time of follow-up was 69 months. Immediately after splenectomy, complete response (platelets above 150 × 109/1) was obtained by 68% of patients while 25% had partial response (platelets from 50 to 150 × 109/1) and only in 1 patient splenectomy failed. During the long-term follow-up, 2 patients relapsed 9 and 20 years, respectively, after splenectomy (20% of non-responders). Partial recurrence of thrombocytopenia (partial response) was observed in 33% of the patients. The persistent complete response rate was then 47%. The young patient age appears to be the only positive predictive factor both for short-term and long-term response to splenectomy. The platelet recovery rate and postsplenectomy thrombocytosis are also early features of lasting response. Positive serum and platelet-associated immunoglobulins became negative after splenectomy, but there is no correlation with clinical response.

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