Glanzmann, a Swiss pediatrician, initially described thrombasthenia in 1918 when he noted purpuric bleeding in patients with normal platelet counts.
The term thrombasthenia means weak platelets. Glanzmann thrombasthenia (GT) is one of several inherited disorders of platelet function, which also include Bernard-Soulier syndrome, as well as deficiencies of platelet adhesion, aggregation, and secretion.
Each of these disorders is characterized by a lifelong bleeding tendency.
As in most individuals with hereditary hematologic disorders, thrombasthenia is typically diagnosed at an early age. Pediatricians must be aware of its existence and, when confronted with a complicating coagulopathy, consider thrombasthenia in the differential diagnosis.