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Platelet Disorders & Dysfunction


What are Platelet Disorders & Dysfunction?

Also called: Thrombocyte disorders

Platelets

Platelets help wounds heal and prevent bleeding by forming blood clots. Your bone marrow makes platelets. Problems can result from having too few or too many platelets, or from platelets that do not work properly.

If your blood has a low number of platelets, you can be at risk for mild to serious bleeding. If your blood has too many platelets, you may have a higher risk of blood clots. With other platelet disorders, the platelets do not work as they should. For example, in von Willebrand Disease, the platelets cannot stick together or cannot attach to blood vessel walls. This can cause excessive bleeding.

Treatment of platelet disorders depends on the cause.

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Source: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/plateletdisorders.html

 

Click Here for Platelet Function Health Info*Click Here

 

Platelet Dysfunction & Low Platelet Counts

Platelets

The average person has 150,000 to 300,000 platelets in each milliliter of blood.

Low Platelet Count & I.T.P.

Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura, also known as I.T.P., is a condition of having a low platelet count (thrombocytopenia) of no known cause.

Platelet Count

An adequate number of normally functioning platelets is needed for people with I.T.P. to prevent leakage of red blood cells from apparently uninjured vessels as well to prevent a hemorrhage. A hemophiliac's blood cannot clot since they have a hereditary or genetic disorder that impairs the bodys ability to control clotting. Providing correct proteins (clotting factors) has been a common method of treating hemophiliacs.

What are Platelets?

Platelets are tiny blood cells with irregularly-shapes that are produced in the bone marrow and whose main function is to control bleeding since they take part in the blood clotting process (coagulation). Each platelet contains cytoplasmic granules and compounds that enhance their ability to stick to each other as well as adhere to tears and damage in blood vessel walls. Platelets circulate for about 10 days before being removed by the liver and spleen.

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Platelet Count Test

A platelet count is a test to measure how many platelets you have in your blood. Platelets help the blood clot. They are smaller than red or white blood cells.

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How the Test is Performed

Blood is typically drawn from a vein, usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. The site is cleaned with germ-killing medicine (antiseptic). The health care provider wraps an elastic band around the upper arm to apply pressure to the area and make the vein swell with blood.

Next, the health care provider gently inserts a needle into the vein. The blood collects into an airtight vial or tube attached to the needle. The elastic band is removed from your arm.

Once the blood has been collected, the needle is removed, and the puncture site is covered to stop any bleeding.

In infants or young children, a sharp tool called a lancet may be used to puncture the skin and make it bleed. The blood collects into a small glass tube called a pipette, or onto a slide or test strip. A bandage may be placed over the area if there is any bleeding.

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How to Prepare for the Test

No preparation is necessary. Tell your doctor if you are taking any medications, including over-the-counter medicines and supplements.

Drugs that can lower platelet counts include chemotherapy drugs, chloramphenicol, colchicine, H2 blocking agents, heparin, hydralazine, indomethacin, isoniazid, quinidine, streptomycin, sulfonamide, thiazide diuretic, and tolbutamide.

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How the Test Will Feel

When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain, while others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.

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Why the Test is Performed

The number of platelets in your blood can be affected by many diseases. Platelets may be counted to monitor or diagnose diseases, or identify the cause of excess bleeding.

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Normal Results

150,000 to 400,000 platelets per microliter (mcL)

Note: Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.

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What Abnormal Results Mean

If the number of platelets is below normal (thrombocytopenia), the cause may be:

If the number is higher than normal (thrombocytosis), the cause may be:

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Risks

There is very little risk involved with having your blood taken. Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Taking blood from some people may be more difficult than from others.

Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Fainting or feeling light-headed
  • Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
  • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)

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Alternative Names

Thrombocyte count

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Read More

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References

McMillan R. Hemorrhagic disorders: Abnormalities of platelet and vascular function. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 179.

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Source: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003647.htm

Update Date: 2/21/2009

Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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Platelet Aggregation Test

The platelet aggregation test checks to see how well platelets, a part of blood, clump together and cause blood clotting.

How the Test is Performed

Blood is typically drawn from a vein, usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. The site is cleaned with germ-killing medicine (antiseptic). The health care provider wraps an elastic band around the upper arm to apply pressure to the area and make the vein swell with blood.

Next, the health care provider gently inserts a needle into the vein. The blood collects into an airtight vial or tube attached to the needle. The elastic band is removed from your arm.

Once the blood has been collected, the needle is removed, and the puncture site is covered to stop any bleeding.

In infants or young children, a sharp tool called a lancet may be used to puncture the skin and make it bleed. The blood collects into a small glass tube called a pipette, or onto a slide or test strip. A bandage may be placed over the area if there is any bleeding.

The laboratory specialist will look at how the platelets spread out in the liquid part of the blood (plasma) and whether they form clumps after a certain chemical or drug is added. When platelets clump together, the blood sample is more clear. A machine measures the changes in cloudiness and prints a record of the results.

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How to Prepare for the Test

Many medications may affect test results. Tell your health care provider about any medications (including over-the-counter drugs) you have taken within 2 weeks before the test.

Medications that may alter test results include:

  • Aspirin
  • Aspirin compounds
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Antihistamines
  • Some antibiotics

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How the Test Will Feel

When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain. Others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.

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Why the Test is Performed

Your doctor may order this test if you have signs of a bleeding disorder or low-platelet count, or if a member of your family has a known bleeding disorder due to platelet dysfunction.

The test can help diagnose problems with platelet function and determine whether the problem is due to your genes, another disorders, or even a side effect of medicine.

See also: Platelet count

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Normal Results

The normal time it takes platelets to clump depends on temperature and may vary from laboratory to laboratory.

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What Abnormal Results Mean

Decreased platelet aggregation may be due to:

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Risks

There is very little risk involved with having your blood taken. Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Taking blood from some people may be more difficult than from others.

Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Fainting or feeling light-headed
  • Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
  • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)

Note: This test is often performed because the patient has a bleeding problem. Bleeding may be more of a risk for this person than for people without bleeding problems.

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References

McMillan R. Hemorrhagic disorders: Abnormalities of platelet and vascular function. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 179.

Schafer A. Hemorrhagic disorders: Approach to the patient with bleeding and thrombosis. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 178.

Source: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003669.htm

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Update Date: 3/2/2009

Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

Read More

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