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Woman with rare blood condition on how cough left her in a coma

A woman whose cough turned out to be a symptom of a rare blood condition which left her in a coma has shared her story to stop others "feeling isolated".

Tracey I'Anson, from Preston, went to hospital with a nagging cough but tests soon showed she had Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (TTP).

She was put in a coma and treated for the potentially fatal condition, which affects about six people per million.

She said she hoped sharing what happened would help others with TTP.

Ms I'Anson was treated at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, which is the TTP Specialist Centre for North West England and is the second largest centre in the country.

The hospital said it treated about 100 patients at a time and saw about 15 new referrals each year.

A representative said TTP, which affects more women than men, caused clots to form in small blood vessels throughout the body and was fatal without treatment.

They added that those with the condition will experience symptoms including fever, fatigue, headaches, confusion, rashes, bruises and stroke-like symptoms.

'Highly unstable'

Ms I'Anson said she had been "suffering from a cough for quite a while which I initially thought was caused by my smoking".

The 49-year-old said as it "wasn't shifting", she went to Royal Preston Hospital's Emergency Department in 2018.

"Not long after some tests, I was quickly blue-lighted to Liverpool, going in and out of consciousness in the ambulance," she said.

She said when she arrived, she was "placed in an induced coma in critical care", as the condition had left her without "an enzyme everyone needs to stop blood clotting".

"To treat this, I had a plasma exchange which ultimately saved my life," she said.

"You don't expect to go to hospital with a cough and come out with something completely unknown."

Tracey I'Anson
Ms I'Anson said she was "proud to have played a part" in creating a film about TTP

The centre's Dr Tina Dutt said TTP was "quite a complex diagnosis" and had "quite a complex treatment".

"Patients can be highly unstable and become critically unwell very quickly," she said.

She said the condition was so rare, that having people share their stories would "empower others who may be diagnosed" and provide "comfort and reassurance to patients".

Ms I'Anson said she would have found such that invaluable.

"Coming out of hospital after being in a critical condition and telling people about TTP, which no-one had ever heard of... I felt really isolated," she said.

"Having a film... would have really helped me adjust to living life with TTP.

"I'm proud to have played a part in creating it and hope it helps others manage and overcome any problems they have."


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