Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is the most common acquired thrombocytopenia in children and is caused by immune-mediated decreased platelet production and increased platelet destruction. In the absence of a diagnostic test, ITP must be differentiated from other thrombocytopenic disorders, including inherited platelet disorders. In addition, a diagnosis of secondary ITP due to a primary immune deficiency with immune dysregulation may not be apparent at diagnosis but can alter management and should be considered in an expanding number of clinical scenarios. The diagnostic evaluation of children with thrombocytopenia will vary based on the clinical history and laboratory features. Access to genotyping has broadened the ability to specify the etiology of thrombocytopenia, whereas increasing access to immunophenotyping, functional immunologic and platelet assays, and biochemical markers has allowed for more in-depth evaluation of patients. With this greater availability of testing, diagnostic algorithms in patients with thrombocytopenia have become complex. In this article, we highlight the diagnostic evaluation of thrombocytopenia in children with a focus on ITP, including consideration of underlying genetic and immune disorders, and use hypothetical patient cases to describe disease manifestations and strategies for treatment of pediatric ITP.

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