Conference Coverage

TTP death linked to elevated troponin and neurological signs



Neurological abnormalities and elevated troponin predict mortality in patients with thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP), according to retrospective analysis of 475 patients from the United Kingdom TTP registry.

Dr. Jin-Sup Shin, University College London Will Pass/MDedge News

Dr. Jin-Sup Shin

In addition, low ADAMTS13 activity (less than 10%) was present in 92% of immune-mediated of TTP upon acute presentation, reported lead author Jin-Sup Shin, MD, of University College London Hospital, and colleagues.

Presenting at the annual meeting of the British Society for Haematology, Dr. Shin provided some background on TTP, a condition that most clinicians encounter infrequently.

“As recently as the 1980s and 90s, when etiology was not that well understood, TTP was associated with an untreated mortality of up to 90%,” Dr. Shin said. “However, based on improved understanding of pathophysiology, and through the creation of TTP registries worldwide, there have been major advances in diagnosis, treatment, and outcomes.”

To gain insight into diagnostic and prognostic characteristics of TTP, the investigators turned to data from 602 patients with clinically suspected TTP, based on an ADAMTS13 activity level less than 10% of normal and associated clinical signs. Out of these 602 patients, 475 consented to registry participation and data analysis.

The analysis revealed a mortality rate of 4%, although Dr. Shin said that “this is probably an underestimate of the true figure,” as it excludes those who died before treatment could be initiated.

Nearly three-quarters of patients were female. The median age at presentation was 43 years, with a range of 1-93 years. The most commonly represented racial/ethnic groups were white (60%) and Afro-Caribbean (22%). Some cases were congenital (16%), but the majority were immune mediated (84%).

The immune-mediated group was the primary focus of Dr. Shin’s report. In this cohort, 76% of cases were idiopathic, while the remainder had a defined precipitant; most common were infection, autoimmune disease, pregnancy, and HIV. The relapse rate among those with immune-mediated TTP was 19%, after a median time to relapse of 26 months.

In total, 71% of patients presented with neurological abnormalities, while slightly less than half (48%) had symptomatic thrombocytopenia (bleeding/petechiae).

Diagnostic tools showed that 64% of patients had an elevated troponin level, 92% had ADAMTS13 activity less than 10%, and 25% had a platelet count lower than 10 x 109/L.

Median platelet count upon presentation was 15 x 109/L, and median lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) exceeded 1,000 units/L. After 7 days of therapy, 58% of patients were still severely deficient in ADAMTS13 activity and 36% of patients still had a platelet count lower than 150 x 109/L.

Where information was available, 30% of patients had positive auto-antibody screens, although not necessarily with signs or symptoms of autoimmune disease. A total of 93% of patients had elevated ADAMTS13 IgG antibody upon presentation. The median ADAMTS13 IgG antibody level at presentation was 37%, with a normal value being less than 6%.

Nearly half of patients with immune-mediated TTP (45%) required intensive care, and 10% of these patients were intubated and ventilated. Most patients were treated with steroids upon admission (81%). On average, 11 plasma exchanges (PEXs) were required before remission.

The investigators noted that “[t]he number of PEXs to remission appears to have decreased over the years.” As an example, a median of 14 PEXs were needed from 2009 to 2010, compared with 8 from 2017 to 2018.

Although rituximab usage in the acute setting held steady over the 10-year period, elective use increased. Out of 89 instances of subacute relapse, elective rituximab was given twice from 2009 to 2010, compared with 26 times from 2017 to 2018.

Comparing features of survival, the investigators found that the median ADAMTS13 IgG antibody level was higher among those who died. Other factors related to increased mortality risk included raised troponin (sevenfold increased risk) and neurological abnormalities, defined by reduced Glasgow Coma Scale score (sixfold increased risk).

“Our data confirm other registries worldwide; in particular, increased susceptibility in women, the Afro-Caribbean population, and those who are middle-aged,” Dr. Shin said. “Our data also show that elevated cardiac troponin and neurological involvement are indicators of poor prognosis. Also, raised antibody levels appear to be associated with a worse clinical outcome and increased mortality rate. These are clearly valuable markers in clinical practice, allowing for intensive care of high-risk patients.”

The investigators reported having no conflicts of interest.

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