29 July 2022

Sheffield hospital opens one of the first specialist regional services for the treatment of rare, life-threatening blood disorders

A new regional service for the treatment of Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (TTP), a rare, life-threatening blood disorder, has opened at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for patients across Yorkshire and Humber.

The Haemophilia and Thrombosis Centre at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals is one of nine specialist regional centres and 11 participating hospitals commissioned by NHS England to provide specialist treatment for TTP, an expansion of a service which has been running in the region for more than 5 years.

TTP is an exceedingly rare and complex condition which can present as an acute life-threatening disorder requiring prompt diagnosis, early referral and effective immediate treatment led by a specialist in the condition. TTP can reoccur in some people, therefore ongoing surveillance with the specialist service is essential in managing these episodes in a timely fashion.

Kimberly Peters, 31 from Doncaster, was diagnosed with TTP in 2019 and has praised the treatment she received at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust:

“I was first diagnosed with TTP in December 2019 when I was 27. I had a few different symptoms which mainly included shortness of breath, cold sweats and I was very easily exerted. I also found blood in my urine and had bruising on my legs which prompted me to go to my local NHS walk-in centre.”

“Because of the bruising on my legs, I was advised at the walk-in centre to go straight to A&E in Doncaster and was admitted for blood tests. The results came back quickly and within an hour I was sent in an ambulance to the specialist Intensive Care Unit in Sheffield.”

Following more tests, Kimberly was diagnosed with TTP and was referred to the Haemophilia and Thrombosis Centre at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

“I was mortified when I found out that I had TTP. My mum had it when I was younger, so although I did have some awareness of the disorder, I was unsure what it would mean for myself.”

Initial treatment for TTP involves Plasma Exchange Therapy; this is a life-saving procedure which involves removing and replacing missing or damaged enzymes in the patients’ blood and returning this to a normal level. Additional treatments include Caplacizumab & immunosuppressant agents.

“Following my Plasma Exchange, I continued to have Cablivi (Caplacizumab) injections at the centre as an outpatient and thankfully I haven’t had a relapse since.”

“The Haemophilia and Thrombosis team at Sheffield have been fantastic and so reassuring throughout my time there. I keep in touch with them through regular check-ups but I’m now doing well and have since had a baby.”

The regional centre in Sheffield coordinate and manage the care of all TTP patients across the region within 4-8 hours of referral, providing safe, streamlined and effective care for patients of all ages and their families.

You can find further information about TTP at https://www.ttpnetwork.org.uk/. If you’d like more information about TTP or the referral pathway please contact Dr Joost van Veen or the Haemophilia & Thrombosis Centre at sth.haemophiliacentre@nhs.net.


PHOTO: Kimberly Peters

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