Prevalence and clinical correlates of neonatal thrombocytopaenia in a tertiary healthcare facility in a low-income country

Chinazaekpere Oluebube Obiweluozor, Christian Chukwukere Ogoke, Anthony Nnaemeka Ikefuna, Tochukwu Chukwukadibia Ezeofor


Background: Thrombocytopaenia is known to complicate many neonatal illnesses and contributes significantly to morbidity and mortality. Early diagnosis and treatment are necessary to avoid complications. There are a few studies on the prevalence of neonatal thrombocytopaenia in South Eastern Nigeria. This study aimed to determine the prevalence and clinical correlates of neonatal thrombocytopaenia in South Eastern Nigeria.

Methods: The prospective study was carried out over a period of eight months (December 2015 to July 2016). One hundred and fifty nine neonates admitted consecutively into the Special Care Baby Unit of the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri were recruited and evaluated for thrombocytopaenia on admission and after forty-eight hours in the study. Blood platelet was analysed using Sysmex KX-21N automatic platelet analyser and manual counting. Thrombocytopenia was defined as blood platelet less than 100×109/L.

Results: The subjects included 89 (56%) males and 70 (44%) females. The prevalence of neonatal thrombocytopaenia was 6.3% on admission and 8.3% after forty-eight hours. Bleeding from orifices (p=0.012), prolonged pregnancy (p=0.047) and petechiae (p=0.020) were clinical correlates significantly associated with thrombocytopaenia. No specific clinical diagnosis was significantly associated with thrombocytopaenia, though the odds of a newborn having thrombocytopaenia was higher in certain conditions indicating increased risk.

Conclusions: The prevalence of thrombocytopaenia in this study suggests that platelet count should be done for neonates admitted into special care baby units in resource-poor settings. This should be more in neonates with bleeding from orifices, prolonged pregnancy and petechiae.  


Thrombocytopaenia, Platelet count, Special care baby unit, Sick neonate, Bleeding, Petechiae

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