Thrombotic Microangiopathy Team-Based Learning Module for Second-Year Medical Students

Publication ID Published Volume
10540 February 10, 2017 13

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Introduction: Thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA) syndromes are a diverse group of disorders characterized by microangiopathic hemolytic anemia (intravascular hemolysis and presence of peripheral blood schistocytes) and thrombocytopenia. Prompt diagnosis is crucial to inform management and improve patient outcome. Clinical and laboratory manifestations of these various disorders overlap, making diagnosis difficult. My colleagues and I developed a team-based learning (TBL) module for second-year medical students in their hematology course block. Methods: Students attend a 1-hour lecture on hemolytic anemia in their standard course curriculum and are given two articles to read outside of class in preparation for the TBL. Total out-of-class preparatory time is 30 minutes. The TBL runs for 1 hour, and students participate in groups of eight. Materials associated with this TBL include the lecture on hemolytic anemia, individual and group readiness assurance test questions, and application exercises. Explanations for all answers are provided for instructors. Results: Surveys indicated students enjoyed the TBL and felt that after participation, their ability to diagnose a TMA was improved. They felt that the number of questions in the session was appropriate to time allowed and that the preparatory articles provided a sufficient level of understanding to participate in the TBL. Some commented they would have liked more time to complete the application exercises, so instructors could consider increasing the allotted time to 1.5 hours. Discussion: Based on the success of this TBL, we plan to develop additional modules for the course and investigate other measures of academic success after implementation.


Murphy M. Thrombotic microangiopathy team-based learning module for second-year medical students. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2017;13:10540.

Educational Objectives

By the end of this team-based learning module, learners will be able to:

  1. Describe the pathophysiology of thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA), specifically thrombotic thrombocytopenia purpura (TTP) and atypical hemolytic uremic syndrom.

  2. Identify the general clinical and laboratory manifestations of TMAs.

  3. Use clinical clues and laboratory data to differentiate between TMAs of pregnancy.

  4. Identify the appropriate treatment of familial and congenital TTP.

  5. Identify the treatment options for TMAs of pregnancy.


  • Team-Based Learning, Thrombotic Microangiopathies, Hematology, Thrombocytopenia, Hemolytic Anemia, Anemia, Hemolytic


  1. Burgess AW, McGregor DM, Mellis CM. Applying established guidelines to team-based learning programs in medical schools: a systematic review. Acad Med. 2014;89(4):678-688.
  2. George JN, Nester CM. Syndromes of thrombotic microangiopathy. N Engl J Med. 2014;371(7):654-666.
  3. Koles PG, Stolfi A, Borges NJ, Nelson S, Parmelee DX. The impact of team-based learning on medical students’ academic performance. Acad Med. 2010;85(11):1739-1745.
  4. Townsley DM. Hematologic complications of pregnancy. Semin Hematol. 2013;50(3):222-231.

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ISSN 2374-8265