Gestational thrombocytopenia among pregnant Ghanaian women

  • Edeghonghon Olayemi
  • Frederick William Akuffo


Background: Thrombocytopenia is a common problem during pregnancy that is not frequently detected and as a result is often inappropriately managed. The obvious concern with thrombocytopenia during pregnancy is the risk of significant bleeding at the time of delivery. This study was designed to determine the prevalence of gestational thrombocytopenia in pregnant women reporting for ante-natal care at a Ghanaian primary health care centre. Methods: Platelet count was evaluated in 300 blood samples from pregnant women and 100 non pregnant female blood donors. The platelet counts were performed using Sysmex KX-21N automated hematology analyzer. The study design was cross sectional. Proportions were analyzed for statistical significance with the Chi square, Odds ratio was also calculated Results: The prevalence of thrombocytopenia in pregnant women in this study was 15.3% compared with 4% in controls. This was statistically significant with a P value of 0.003. Odds ratio was 4.31 (95% CI : 1.52 - 12.04). Most cases of thrombocytopenia were mild (76%), only 4% of the women with thrombocytopenia had severe thrombocytopenia. Conclusion: The frequency of thrombocytopenia in this study was higher than that reported from more developed parts of the world. This may be due to undetected malaria infection in our patients. Pregnant women should be routinely screened for thrombocytopenia. Those found to be thrombocytopenic should have both thick and thin blood films done to exclude the presence of malaria parasites.

Pan African Medical Journal 2012; 12:34

Author Biographies

Edeghonghon Olayemi
Department of Haematology, University of Ghana Medical School, Ghana
Frederick William Akuffo
Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences, School of Allied Health Sciences, University of Ghana, Ghana

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1937-8688