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.
Diagnosis was confirmed as ET in 891 patients (81%) and was revised to early/prefibrotic PMF in 180 (16%); 33 patients were not evaluable. In early/prefibrotic PMF compared with ET, the 10-year survival rates (76% and 89%, respectively) and 15-year survival rates (59% and 80%, respectively), leukemic transformation rates at 10 years (5.8% and 0.7%, respectively) and 15 years (11.7% and 2.1%, respectively), and rates of progression to overt myelofibrosis at 10 years (12.3% and 0.8%, respectively) and 15 years (16.9% and 9.3%) were significantly worse.