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Essential thrombocythaemia (ET) is one of the myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) where patients have too many platelets in their blood.
Essential thrombocythaemia (ET) is one of a group of diseases called the myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs). MPNs affect the way blood cells are produced in the body. Patients with ET have too many platelets in their blood. Platelets are small fragments of cells which are needed to form a blood clot. The high number of platelets causes people with ET to have a higher risk of blood clotting. People with ET can also have bleeding problems because their platelets do not always work well. People generally develop ET as adults and most people who develop ET are diagnosed at age 60 or older.
A diagnosis of ET may be suspected following a routine blood test for something else, but is confirmed by a haematology specialist who will run a series of diagnostic tests to determine whether you have ET or another condition. It’s possible for conditions other than ET to cause a high platelet count such as arthritis and other blood conditions, so your haematologist will need to rule out any other possible underlying causes.
Last reviewed: December 2015
Next planned review: December 2018