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HealthInfo Canterbury

Essential thrombocythaemia (high platelets)

Your blood is made of white blood cells, red blood cells, platelets, and plasma Essential thrombocythaemia (throm-bo-sigh-thee-me-a) is a rare condition that causes high platelets. Most people with essential thrombocythaemia (ET) stay well, but they do have a higher risk of blood clots, because platelets are what make your blood clot. These can lead to deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism, strokes, heart attacks, or loss of the blood supply to a toe or finger.

Sometimes, after many years people with ET can develop other blood problems, such as anaemia, scarring of their bone marrow (a condition called myelofibrosis), or even leukaemia.

Treatment is usually with daily low-dose aspirin every day to reduce your risk of blood clots. Some people need additional treatment with medication if they are at higher risk of getting blood clots.

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Written by Haematology Department, Christchurch Hospital. Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by clinical director, Haematology, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed May 2020.

See also:

Understanding your complete blood count results

Page reference: 31426

Review key: HIETH-31426