PURPOSE: Mean platelet volume(MPV) and platelet distribution width(PDW) are useful parameters in evaluating disorders of platelets. In cases with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura(ITP), they change as platelet count increases. In this study, we compared the values of MPV and PDW in ITP patients at diagnosis with those of normal children. We also studied whether the early changes in MPV may predict the clinical course. METHODS: From December 1995 to May 2001, 71 patients with ITP were admitted to Ajou University Hospital. They were treated with IVIg 400 mg/kg for five days and MPV, PDW, platelet count were analysed. Normal control group(n=38) was compared. The study group was divided into acute and chronic forms, and also divided into group A, good early responders whose platelets increased more than 100,000/microL within 5 days and group B who did not. RESULTS: Mean value of MPV at diagnosis in ITP patients was lower than the normal control group(P<0.05). In group A, MPV was abruptly increased on the first day after IVIg and then started to decrease. But in group B, MPV was steadily increased until the fourth day after IVIg. In the normal control group, there were inverse correlations between platelet count and MPV(r= -0.415, P<0.05), but in ITP patients, there were positive relationships between platelet count and MPV(r=0.646, P<0.05) at diagnosis. CONCLUSIONS: MPV at diagnosis of ITP was lower than the normal control. MPV and PDW could not predict the course of ITP patients, but MPV could distinguish good early responders. More research is needed to find out the reasons of decreased MPV at diagnosis of ITP.