What’s PTT?

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The partial thromboplastin time (PTT) test measures how long it takes for a blood clot to form and is used to check for bleeding problems, monitor blood thinners, and evaluate patients before surgery. Normal results are between 30-45 seconds, but those on blood thinners may have longer clotting times. Patients with bleeding disorders often have deficiencies in one of the 13 blood clotting factors. The PTT test is also used to monitor patients with deep vein thrombosis and myocardial infarction. The test is often done with the prothrombin time (PT) test and carries slight risks.

The partial thromboplastin time (PTT) test is a type of blood test usually done to check patients for possible bleeding problems and to monitor patients taking blood thinners. It is also often performed to evaluate patients who are about to be operated on in order to prevent bleeding complications during the operation. Sometimes referred to as activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT), this test measures the length of time it takes for a blood clot to form.

The normal result for the partial thromboplastin time test is usually between 30 and 45 seconds. This can sometimes vary between laboratories, depending on the methods used. Those who take blood thinners often have a longer clotting time, about twice as long as those who don’t. Other diseases also associated with a longer partial thromboplastin time include liver disease, vitamin K deficiency, and kidney disorders. A longer clotting time is also an indication of clotting factor deficiency.

There are about 13 blood clotting factors, usually referred to as factor 1, factor 2, and so on, and they are mostly made up of proteins that act in a sequential pattern to form a clot. Patients with bleeding problems, such as hemophilia and hypofibrinogenemia, commonly have deficiencies or defects in one of their blood clotting factors. Hemophilia is a hereditary disease in which people usually lack factor 8 or factor 9. Hypofibrinogenemia is another hereditary disease caused by lack of factor 1. In both conditions, there is a tendency of patients to bleed longer and lose large amounts of blood in cases of injury and trauma.

Patients with deep vein thrombosis and myocardial infarction are often given anticoagulants for treatment. Deep vein thrombosis is the formation of clots in the blood vessels of the leg, often causing pain and swelling in the affected area. Myocardial infarction or heart attack usually occurs when a blood vessel that carries blood to the heart muscles is blocked by a clot. In these patients, partial thromboplastin time tests are usually performed on a regular basis to monitor these patients and to check whether the dose of the medicine administered is appropriate.

Another test, called the prothrombin time (PT), is often done in conjunction with the partial thromboplastin time test. Both tests are usually done in the laboratory after a technician takes a blood sample from the patient. Risks associated with the blood sampling process include infection at the injection site, slight pain, throbbing, and dizziness.

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