Pathology consultation on the diagnosis and treatment of thrombotic microangiopathies (TMAs)

Academic Article


  • Objectives: Pathologists specializing in transfusion medicine, apheresis medicine, and/or coagulation are often consulted by clinicians to reach a diagnosis for patients with thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA), so that disease-specific, often life-saving therapy can be initiated as promptly as possible. Methods: This article describes how to proceed when treating a patient with TMA. The differential diagnosis is broad and potentially very challenging. Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP), atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS), and typical hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) are three such TMAs that require timely diagnosis and treatment. Results: TTP is treated with daily therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) and commonly with adjunctive immunosuppressive therapy, while aHUS may initially be managed with TPE but is best controlled with eculizumab once a presumptive diagnosis is made. TPE has no proven role in typical HUS, which is most commonly treated with supportive measures only. Conclusions: Prompt and accurate diagnosis of TMA subtypes optimizes treatment and improves patient outcomes.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Williams LA; Marques MB
  • Start Page

  • 158
  • End Page

  • 165
  • Volume

  • 145
  • Issue

  • 2