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Disease: Thrombocytosis Thrombocytosis
Category: Blood diseases & tumors
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Disease Definition:

Thrombocytosis is also called reactive thrombocytosis and is the case of overproduction of platelets, which are responsible for blood clotting. Both children and adults can have the disease.

Reactive thrombocytosis is the result of another initial condition. Often, patients with thrombocytosis don’t experience symptoms.

Treatment for thrombocytosis depends on the underlying condition that causes it. In most cases, the platelet count will return to normal after the condition is resolved.

Work Group:

Prepared by: Scientific Section

Symptoms, Causes


Patients of reactive thrombocytosis rarely experience symptoms, but a serious bone marrow condition can be indicated by the high platelet count. The case is called primary thrombocytosis or thrombocythemia, where the latter is potentially fatal due to formation of blood clots.

Since there are no apparent symptoms associated with thrombocytosis, a periodic blood test may reveal high platelet count that would need further investigation to determine its cause.


Stem cells in the bone marrow can transform into red or white blood cells or platelets that flow with the blood and play a major role in forming clots and stopping bleeding like in wounds. The normal platelet count in the blood is 150 to 450 thousand in a cubic millimeter.

The over production of platelets is caused when bone marrow overproduces platelet-forming cells (megakaryocytes), which when shown by a blood test, the doctor should decide how to treat it by determining whether it’s thrombocythemia or reactive thrombocytosis.  

The cause of reactive thrombocytosis may be:


  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Recent surgery
  • An infection
  • Splenectomy, which is surgery to remove the spleen
  • Cancer
  • Severe bleeding
  • Hemolytic anemia: This condition is usually the result of certain blood diseases or autoimmune disorders. In this type of anemia, the body destroys red blood cells faster than it produces them.
  • Inflammation, such as from connective tissue disorders, inflammatory bowel disease or rheumatoid arthritis.





Thrombocytosis treatment targets the initial cause. If it is caused by a large amount of blood loss due to recent surgery or injury, the platelet count elevation will be temporary. If the cause is another condition like an inflammation or chronic infection, the platelet count will not drop until the underlying condition is treated.

The patient may have lifelong thrombocytosis in case he/she has had a splenectomy.
In this case, the patient has to take low doses of aspirin to avoid blood clots, which are uncommon in the case of reactive thrombocytosis.


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