Glanzmann’s Thrombasthenia

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Glanzmann’s Thrombasthenia is a rare inherited bleeding disorder that affects the ability of blood to clot. It is characterized by easy and excessive bruising, prolonged bleeding after injury or surgery, nosebleeds, gastrointestinal bleeding, heavy menstrual bleeding, blood in urine or stool, bleeding in the mouth or gums, prolonged bleeding after dental procedures, and excessive bleeding after childbirth. This article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of Glanzmann’s Thrombasthenia, its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options.

Causes of Glanzmann’s Thrombasthenia

Glanzmann’s Thrombasthenia is caused by a genetic mutation that affects the function of platelets, which are essential for blood clotting. Platelets play a crucial role in forming a plug at the site of injury to prevent excessive bleeding. In individuals with Glanzmann’s Thrombasthenia, the platelets lack a specific protein called glycoprotein IIb/IIIa, which is responsible for platelet aggregation and clot formation.

Symptoms of Glanzmann’s Thrombasthenia

The symptoms of Glanzmann’s Thrombasthenia can vary in severity from person to person. The most common symptoms include:

  • Easy and excessive bruising
  • Prolonged bleeding after injury or surgery
  • Nosebleeds
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Blood in urine or stool
  • Bleeding in the mouth or gums
  • Prolonged bleeding after dental procedures
  • Excessive bleeding after childbirth

Diagnosis of Glanzmann’s Thrombasthenia

Diagnosing Glanzmann’s Thrombasthenia involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, and laboratory tests. The doctor will inquire about the patient’s bleeding symptoms and family history of bleeding disorders. A physical examination may reveal signs of bruising or other bleeding abnormalities.

Laboratory tests are crucial for confirming the diagnosis. These tests may include:

  • Platelet function tests: These tests evaluate the ability of platelets to aggregate and form clots.
  • Genetic testing: Genetic testing can identify specific mutations in the genes responsible for Glanzmann’s Thrombasthenia.

Treatment of Glanzmann’s Thrombasthenia

Currently, there is no cure for Glanzmann’s Thrombasthenia. Treatment focuses on managing bleeding episodes and preventing complications. The following treatment options may be recommended:

  • Platelet transfusions: Transfusing platelets from healthy donors can temporarily improve clotting ability and control bleeding.
  • Desmopressin: This medication stimulates the release of stored von Willebrand factor, which can enhance platelet function.
  • Antifibrinolytic medications: These medications help prevent the breakdown of blood clots and reduce bleeding.
  • Supportive care: It is essential to provide prompt medical attention for any bleeding episodes and take precautions to prevent injuries.

Living with Glanzmann’s Thrombasthenia

Living with Glanzmann’s Thrombasthenia requires careful management and lifestyle adjustments to minimize the risk of bleeding episodes. Here are some tips:

  • Avoid activities that may increase the risk of injury or bleeding, such as contact sports.
  • Inform healthcare providers about the condition before any medical or dental procedures.
  • Use soft-bristled toothbrushes and avoid flossing vigorously to prevent gum bleeding.
  • Keep a record of bleeding episodes and share it with healthcare providers for better management.
  • Consider wearing a medical alert bracelet or necklace to inform others about the condition in case of emergencies.

It is important for individuals with Glanzmann’s Thrombasthenia to work closely with their healthcare team to develop a personalized treatment plan and receive regular follow-up care.


Glanzmann’s Thrombasthenia is a rare bleeding disorder characterized by impaired platelet function. It can lead to easy and excessive bruising, prolonged bleeding after injury or surgery, nosebleeds, gastrointestinal bleeding, heavy menstrual bleeding, and other bleeding symptoms. While there is no cure for Glanzmann’s Thrombasthenia, various treatment options are available to manage bleeding episodes and prevent complications. By following appropriate precautions and working closely with healthcare providers, individuals with Glanzmann’s Thrombasthenia can lead fulfilling lives while minimizing the impact of the condition.

Haroon Rashid, MD
Rate author
Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
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