Diagnostic Testing for Differential Diagnosis in Thrombotic Microangiopathies

Gina Zini Tanzi*, Raimondo De Cristofaro

*Autore corrispondente per questo lavoro

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivistapeer review


Thrombotic microangiopathies (TMAs) are multiple disease entities with different etiopathogeneses, characterized by thrombocytopenia, microangiopathic hemolytic anemia (MAHA) with schistocytosis, variable symptoms including fever, and multi-organ failure such as mild renal impairment and neurological deficits. The two paradigms of TMAs are represented on one hand by acquired thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) and on the other by hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The differential diagnosis between these two paradigmatic forms of TMA is based on the presence of either frank renal failure in HUS or a severe deficiency (<10%) of the zinc-protease ADAMTS13 (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with a thrombospondin type 1 motif, member 13) in TTP. ADAMTS13 is an enzyme involved in the proteolytic processing of von Willebrand factor (vWF), and its deficiency results in formation of high-molecular-weight vWF-rich microthrombi in the environment of the microvasculature. The presence of these ultra-large vWF multimers in the microcirculation can recruit platelets, promoting multi-organ ischemic lesions. The presence of ADAMTS13 activity at >10% could rule out the presence of a TTP form. However, it is often difficult to differentiate either a TTP or HUS clinical scenario presenting with typical symptoms of TMA. There are in fact several additional diagnoses that should be considered in patients with ADAMTS13 activity of >10%. Widespread inflammation with endothelial damage and adverse reactions to drugs play a central role in the pathogenesis of several forms of TMA, and in these cases, the differential diagnosis should be directed at the underlying disease. Hence, a correct etiologic diagnosis of TMA should involve a critical illness, cancer-associated TMA, drug-induced TMA, and hematopoietic transplant-associated TMA. A complete assessment of all the possible etiologies for TMA symptoms, including acquired or congenital TTP, will allow for a more accurate diagnosis and application of more appropriate treatment.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)222-229
Numero di pagine8
RivistaTurkish Journal of Haematology
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2019


  • Anemia
  • Microangiopathic hemolytic anemia
  • Thrombotic microangiopathies


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