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Glanzmann Thrombasthenia Treatment & Management

  • Author: Zonera Ashraf Ali, MBBS; Chief Editor: Srikanth Nagalla, MBBS, MS, FACP  more...
Updated: Mar 31, 2015

Approach Considerations

Patients with Glanzmann thrombasthenia who are bleeding require platelet transfusion. A hematologist may be consulted for transfusion recommendations.

Because patients are likely to require multiple transfusions during their lifetime, they should receive leukocyte-depleted blood products, in order to avoid platelet alloimmunization. Leukocyte depletion can be accomplished with mechanical filtration. Only filtered blood products should be given. Use of platelets matched via human leukocyte antigen (HLA) is a further attempt to prevent platelet alloimmunization.

Other treatment considerations include the following:

  • Patients should be vaccinated against hepatitis B due to the infectious risks associated with multiple transfusions
  • Avoid medications that affect platelet function, such as aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Consider oral contraceptives to control menorrhagia

Recombinant activated factor VII (rFVIIa) has been used in patients with antibodies to platelet glycoprotein IIb/IIIa and/or HLA that render transfusions ineffective. In July 2014, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved rFVIIa (NovoSeven RT) for treatment of bleeding episodes and perioperative management in adults and children with Glanzmann thrombasthenia that is refractory to platelet transfusions, with or without antibodies to platelets.[13]

Patients with Glanzmann thrombasthenia who require surgical intervention should receive platelet transfusions preoperatively, to prevent excessive bleeding during surgery. Further platelet transfusions are considered, based on maintaining hemostasis. Alternatively, rFVIIa may be useful for preventing or controlling perioperative bleeding.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Zonera Ashraf Ali, MBBS Consulting Staff, Main Line Oncology Hematology Associates, Lankenau Cancer Center

Zonera Ashraf Ali, MBBS is a member of the following medical societies: American Society of Clinical Oncology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Marcel E Conrad, MD Distinguished Professor of Medicine (Retired), University of South Alabama College of Medicine

Marcel E Conrad, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Association of Blood Banks, American Chemical Society, American College of Physicians, American Physiological Society, American Society for Clinical Investigation, American Society of Hematology, Association of American Physicians, Association of Military Surgeons of the US, International Society of Hematology, Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine, SWOG

Disclosure: Partner received none from No financial interests for none.

Chief Editor

Srikanth Nagalla, MBBS, MS, FACP Director, Clinical Hematology, Cardeza Foundation for Hematologic Research; Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology, Associate Program Director, Hematology/Medical Oncology Fellowship, Assistant Program Director, Internal Medicine Residency, Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University

Srikanth Nagalla, MBBS, MS, FACP is a member of the following medical societies: American Society of Hematology, Association of Specialty Professors

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Wadie F Bahou, MD Chief, Division of Hematology, Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Director, Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, State University of New York at Stony Brook

Wadie F Bahou, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Society of Hematology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Mark J Shumate, MD, MPH Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine

Mark J Shumate, MD, MPH is a member of the following medical societies: American Society of Hematology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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