Essential thrombocythemia is a chronic disease common in people over age 50 and slightly more common in women. Young people can develop it as well. It is characterised by the overproduction of platelets by megakaryocytes in the bone marrow. Essential thrombocythemia is an uncommon disorder where the body produces too many blood platelets. This condition may cause to feel fatigued, lightheaded and to experience headaches and vision changes. It also increases the risk of blood clots.
The greatest health risk in patients with ET is an increased risk of developing blood clots. Blood clots can be in the deep vessels of the legs or lungs; ET patients are also more likely to experience strokes and heart attacks. ET patients can develop clots elsewhere, including within the abdomen, an otherwise rare site for clots to form. The risk of clotting increases with age, and disease-associated risks may be quite different for children than for adults, with children generally being at low risk for clots and other problems related to ET.
A total of 322 patients were studied (median age, 54 years; median follow-up, 13.6 years). With a median survival time of 18.9 years, survival in the first decade of disease was similar to that of the control population (risk ratio, 0.72; 95% confidence interval, 0.50-0.99) but became significantly worse thereafter (risk ratio, 2.21; 95% confidence Interval, 1.74-2.76). Multivariable analysis identified age at diagnosis of 60 years or older, leukocytosis, tobacco use, and diabetes mellitus as Independent predictors of poor survival. A 2-variable model based on an age cutoff of 60 years and leukocyte count of 15 x 10(9)/L resulted in 3 risk groups with significant difference in survival.