Definition of Thrombocytopenia

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Authentic and Spurious Causes of Thrombocytopenia. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

Learn more about Authentic and Spurious Causes of Thrombocytopenia (online CE course)
Definition of Thrombocytopenia

Thrombocytopenia is a decrease in the number of platelets in the peripheral blood. Most laboratories use a reference range for platelets that is approximately 150 - 450 x 109/L. Thrombocytopenia occurs when the platelet count falls below the lower limit of this range.
The image to the right shows how a normal platelet count would appear on a peripheral blood smear (Wright-Giemsa stain; 1000x original magnification). Representative platelets are indicated by arrows.

A peripheral blood smear showing a normal platelet count.