We describe a previously healthy male patient, with severe immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) following CMV infection which was refractory to steroids and intravenous immunoglobulin, who developed massive intracranial bleeding. Despite an extremely low platelet count (2×109/liter) which was refractory to platelet transfusions, successful emergency splenectomy was performed, with rapid resolution of the thrombocytopenia. Bleeding complications are extremely rare in viral-associated ITP. Emergency splenectomy should be considered in the presence of life-threatening bleeding when other modalities fail to produce a rise in the platelet count. Infection with CMV should be ruled out in cases of severe, treatment-resistant ITP.