We report on the effects of splenectomy in 45 consecutive patients affected by idiopathic thrombocytopenia who did not obtain lasting remission with prednisone therapy. None of the patients had serious complications after surgery, and only one died a year later from an infectious disease. Two years after surgery, 89% of the patients were in remission; 79% had no therapy after splenectomy, while 10% achieved remission in response to additional medical treatment. A significantly better response to splenectomy was obtained in the subjects under 50 years old (90% remission) and by the younger patients who had had a transient response to initial prednisone therapy (100% remission). All patients with thrombocytosis 15 days after surgery were in remission two years later. We were unable to identify parameters constantly associated with a poor response to splenectomy, since at least 25% of the patients with the worst prognostic features obtained lasting remission.
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