Glanzmann's Thrombasthenia (GT) was discovered in Switzerland in 1918 by a pediatrician named Glanzmann.

GT is a rare, inherited platelet function disorder. It is caused by a lack of a protein on the surface of platelets, called glycoprotein IIb/IIIa.  This protein is needed so that platelets can aggregate around an injury to a blood vessel.  Because of the deficiency, platelets fail to form a plug to stop the bleeding.

 Glanzmann's Thrombasthenia has three categories: 
  • Type I -  level of glycoprotien IIb/IIIa less than 5% of normal
  • Type II - level of glycoprotein IIb/IIIa between 5% and 20% of normal
  • Type III - level of glycoprotein IIb/IIIa of more then 50% normal, however, major abnormalities in the way platelets aggregate.
Clinical History
  • Difficulty stopping bleeding after an injury, cut, or surgery
  • Bleeding under the skin that can occur from broken blood vessels that form tiny pinpoint red dots called petechiae
  • Ecchymosis- the secretion of blood from a blood vessel into the surrounding tissue as a result of a bruise
  • Menorrhagia- abnormally heavy and prolonged menstral period
  • Bleeding from the gums or mouth, especially after dental work. Infants and toddlers may also experience frequent mouth bleeding when teething and learning to eat solid foods
  • Epistaxis- repeated nose bleeds
  • Hemarthroses- bleeding into a joint like the knee or elbow
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding which may include bleeding ulcers
  • Hematuria- blood in the urine
  • Sometimes boys with Glanzmann's Thrombasthenia are diagnosed because of increased bleeding after circumcision.
  • Normal handling of infants can cause superficial bruises

 Glanzmann's Thrombasthenia is autosomal recessive

 In order for a person to inherit Glanzmann's Thrombasthenia, both parents must be carriers. If a person inherits the defective gene from only one of the parents, he/she will be a carrier, and will usually show no signs of the disease. GT can affect females as well as males because the defective gene is on chromosome 17, which does not decide the sex of the child.

When a carrier of GT has children with another carrier:
1-in-4 chance that a child will have GT
1-in-2 chance that a child will be a carrier
1-in-4 chance that a child will be normal

If someone with GT has children with someone that is a non-carrier:
All children will be carriers, but none of them will have the disease.

If someone with GT has children with a carrier:
1-in-2 chance that a child will be a carrier
1-in-2 chance that a child will have GT

Alternate names/synonyms for Glanzmann's Thrombasthenia:
  • Diacyclothrombopathia IIb-IIIa
  • Glanzmann Disease
  • Glanzmann Thrombasthenia
  • Glanzmann-Naegeli Syndrome
  • Glycoprotein Complex IIb/IIIa, Deficiency of
  • GP IIb-IIIa Complex, Deficiency of
  • GTA
  • Platelet Fibrinogen Receptor Deficiency
  • Thrombasthenia
  • Thrombasthenia of Glanzmann and Naegeli

Glanzmann Thrombasthenia: An inherited bleeding disorder. Montreal, Canada: Canadian Association of Nurses in Hemophilia Care, 2001.

Cure Glanzmann's Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization.  The foundation was created in 2010, in an effort to support research to cure Glanzmann's Thrombasthenia, raise awareness, and provide support for other families dealing with this difficult disorder.