Clinical features of acute febrile thrombocytopaenia among patients attending primary care clinics
Introduction: Identifying clinical features that differentiate acute febrile thrombocytopaenia from acute febrile illness without thrombocytopaenia can help primary care physician to decide whether to order a full blood count (FBC). This is important because thrombocytopaenia in viral fever may signify more serious underlying aetiology like dengue infection.
Objective: The aim of this study was to compare the clinical features of acute febrile patients with thrombocytopaenia and acute febrile patients without thrombocytopaenia. Methodology: This was a clinic-based cross-sectional study from May to November 2003. Consecutive patients presenting with undifferentiated fever of less than two weeks were selected from the Primary Care Centre of Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Batu 9 Cheras Health Clinic. Clinical features of these patients were recorded and FBC examination was done for all patients. Thrombocytopaenia was defined as platelet count <150X109/L. The odds ratio of thrombocytopaenia for each presenting symptoms was calculated.
Result: Seventy-three patients participated in this study. Among them, 45.2% had thrombocytopaenia. Myalgia and headache were common among all patients. However, nausea and vomiting occurred significantly more often among patients with thrombocytopaenia than in patients with normal platelet count (OR 2.2, 95% CI 1.1-4.5).
Conclusion: Acute non-specific febrile patients presenting with symptoms of nausea and vomiting may have higher risk of thrombocytopaenia and should be seriously considered for FBC.
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