Papers And Originals

Essential Thrombocythaemia and Peripheral Gangrene

Br Med J 1974; 3 doi: (Published 31 August 1974) Cite this as: Br Med J 1974;3:548
  1. F. E. Preston,
  2. I. G. Emmanuel,
  3. D. A. Winfield,
  4. R. G. Malia


    Six patients are described in whom gangrene of one or more toes occurred as the presenting feature of essential thrombocythaemia. Spontaneous platelet aggregation was observed in platelet-rich plasma from four patients and platelet aggregation after the addition of adenosine diphosphate and collagen was highly abnormal in samples from all six. All of the patients described dramatic relief of pain within six hours of ingestion of aspirin and this coincided with disappearance of the spontaneous platelet aggregation and collagen-induced platelet aggregation. Treatment with phosphorus-32 corrected the platelet count and there were no further recurrences of peripheral vascular disease. Platelet function tests performed at the time all gave normal results. It is concluded that essential thrombocythaemia is an important and treatable cause of peripheral vascular disease.