What is the role of a platelet count in the workup of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC)?

Updated: Dec 27, 2017
  • Author: Shelley C Springer, JD, MD, MSc, MBA, FAAP; Chief Editor: Muhammad Aslam, MD  more...
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Platelets are an acute phase reactant, and thrombocytosis can represent physiologic stress to an infant, but acute NEC is more commonly associated with thrombocytopenia (<100,000/μL). Thrombocytopenia may become more profound in severe cases that become complicated with consumption coagulopathy. Consumption coagulopathy is characterized by prolonged prothrombin time (PT), prolonged activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT), and decreasing fibrinogen and increasing fibrin degradation products concentrations

Thrombocytopenia appears to be a reaction to gram-negative organisms and endotoxins. Platelet counts of less than 50,000 warrant platelet transfusion.

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