DALE H. COWAN, M.D.; JOHN D. HINES, M.D.
Factors related to transitory alcohol-related thrombocytopenia were studied in 43 severely alcoholic patients. Initial platelet counts were less than 100,000/ µl in 15 patients; 100,000 to 150,000/ µl in 20; and over 150,000/ µl in 8. There was no correlation between the platelet counts and the hematocrits, white cell counts, serum or red cell folate levels, or liver function tests. Thrombocytopenia developed in one hospitalized patient who ingested alcohol and persisted despite administration of pharmacologic doses of folic acid and pyridoxal phosphate. Platelets, counted daily in 19 patients, increased twofold to nineteenfold without institution of specific therapy; peak counts occurred 5 to 18 days after admission. Recovery from thrombocytopenia was unrelated to the initial platelet counts or folate levels. Thrombocytopenia commonly occurs in severely alcoholic patients, often unaccompanied by other hematologic abnormalities or folate deficiency and appears to be a direct effect of alcohol. Effective treatment is cessation of alcohol ingestion.
COWAN DH, HINES JD. Thrombocytopenia of Severe Alcoholism. Ann Intern Med. 1971;74:37–43. doi: https://doi.org/10.7326/0003-4819-74-1-37
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1971;74(1):37-43.
Hematology/Oncology, Platelet Disorders, Tobacco, Alcohol, and Other Substance Abuse.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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