Congenital platelet disorders: overview of their mechanisms, diagnostic evaluation and treatment
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The bleeding problems associated with common and rare inherited platelet disorders illustrate the importance of platelets to normal haemostasis. At sites of injury, platelets normally adhere, undergo activation, secretion and aggregate formation, and they provide the membrane surface for the assembly of coagulation to generate thrombin. The causes of inherited disorders that alter platelet haemostatic functions are quite diverse, ranging from defects in receptors critical to platelet adhesion and aggregation, to defects in signalling molecules or in transcription factors important for production of functional platelets. The mechanisms of impaired platelet function are largely unknown for the more common disorders that alter platelet activation, secretion and the secondary wave of platelet aggregation. The diagnostic evaluation of congenital platelet disorders has been challenging as some 'platelet-type' bleeding symptoms, such as bruising, are quite common in the general population. Moreover, the diagnostic tests used by clinical laboratories to evaluate disorders of platelet function have not been standardized. In individuals recognized to have an inherited defect in platelet function, therapy is important for controlling and preventing bleeding episodes. Presently, there are a number of choices to consider for the management of bleeding symptoms, including menorrhagia. This paper reviews the causes, diagnostic evaluation and therapies for common and rare congenital platelet disorders.
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