TTP glossary

There are new terms to learn when talking about thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP)

Understanding these terms may help you feel more prepared when you talk to your care team about TTP.

What does TTP stand for?

TTP (thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura): A rare blood disorder caused by a lower-than-normal amount of the ADAMTS13 protein in the blood. This leads to unnecessary blood clots that can cause serious health problems, like seizure, stroke, or organ damage.

Thrombotic

THROMBOTIC: When small blood clots form in the blood vessels.

Thrombocytopenic

THROMBOCYTOPENIC: Having a lower-than-normal number of platelets in the blood.

Purpura

PURPURA: Purple spots on the skin that may look like bruises.

Common TTP terms

ADAMTS13: A protein that keeps your body from making blood clots it doesn’t need. In TTP, the main problem is that there is not enough ADAMTS13 in the blood.

Anemia (uh-NEEM-ee-uh): Having a lower-than-normal number of red blood cells in your body, which prevents enough oxygen from getting to organs.

Immune system: Your body’s defense system. The immune system fights off things that don’t belong, like bacteria and viruses.

Jaundice: Yellowing of your skin or eyes.

Microthrombi: Small blood clots in a blood vessel. Your doctor might call the clots caused by TTP “microthrombi.”

Petechiae (pə-tē-kē-ī): Small red or purple dots on your skin.

Platelets: A component of your blood that helps create clots when your body needs them. When you cut yourself, platelets (small blood cells) help your body form clots to stop bleeding.

Recurrence: Any TTP episode that happens after your first TTP episode.

Red blood cell: A cell that carries oxygen through your body.

TTP episode: A serious and sudden health issue caused by TTP. TTP episodes are medical emergencies and require treatment right away.

von Willebrand (vawn vil-uh-brahnt) factor (vWF): A component of the blood that attracts platelets to form clots. In TTP, vWF attracts platelets to form clots when they’re not needed.