A Case of Thrombocytopenia
Department of Biology
Spring Hill College
“Carolyn Jones” is a 40-year-old professor of economics. The past week she has felt tried and weak. The past few days she has noticed small, red dots on her skin and gums. Even more upsetting, she cut herself while making dinner and the wound bled for a long time. Students read a brief clinical history of the patient and a description of the relevant signs and symptoms, then answer a set of directed questions that probe the underlying anatomy, physiology, and pathology of Carolyn's condition. The case study has been used in a sophomore-level course in human anatomy and physiology taught to pre-med and nursing students as well as a senior-level elective course in general physiology taken primarily by pre-med students.
- The anatomic location and stimulus for platelet production.
- The role of platelets in hemostasis and the consequences of a low platelet count.
- The causes and treatment of thrombocytopenia.
- The influence of the spleen on the number of circulating platelets.
KeywordsThrombocytopenia; hemostasis; megakaryocytes; platelets; low platelet count; idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura; platelet disorder; hemorrhage; spleen; splenectomy
Educational LevelUndergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Subject HeadingsPhysiology | Medicine (General) | Nursing |