In this report, we will review the various clinical and laboratory approaches to diagnosing immune thrombocytopenia (ITP), with a focus on its laboratory diagnosis. We will also summarize the results from a number of laboratories that have applied techniques to detect anti-platelet autoantibodies as diagnostic tests for ITP. Although there is considerable variability in methods among laboratories, there is general agreement that platelet autoantibody testing has a high specificity but low sensitivity. This suggests several possibilities: (1) the ideal test for ITP has yet to be developed, (2) current test methods need to be improved, or (3) ITP is the clinical expression of a variety of thrombocytopenic disorders with different underlying mechanisms. Even the clinical diagnosis of ITP is complex, and experienced clinicians do not always agree on whether a particular patient has ITP. Improvements in the diagnostic approach to ITP are necessary to improve the management of this disorder.