Bleeding Time and Clotting Time Lab Test

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What is Bleeding Time and Clotting Time Test?

The Bleeding and Clotting time test refers to a test that is performed on a sample of blood to measure the time taken for it to clot or coagulate. This test is also known as the BT CT test.

What is Bleeding time and Clotting time?

What is bleeding time? In a bleeding time test, it is assessed what the rapidness with which the blood can clot and it can stop bleeding is. In this test, a small puncture is made in the skin of the person. By performing this test, it can be easily determined the way in which the platelets work together to form clots.

What is clotting time? – Clotting time is the time taken for blood to clot in a person. Clotting factors determine the clotting time in a person. Thus blood clotting factors play an important role in bleeding and clotting.

What are platelets? – Platelets are found in the blood. Their function is to accumulate near the site of injury or puncture to seal the wound and reduce or stop the amount of blood that is flowing away from the body.

Why do I need Bleeding time and Clotting time Test?

There are several reasons why this test may be prescribed by the doctor. If the patient is someone who is experiencing an issue with blood clotting wherein the blood is not able to stop flowing after an injury such as a cut or a puncture, then it is suggested to take the bleeding time test to determine if the person has problems with blood clotting.

Blood clotting disorders symptoms are the delay in blood clotting and longer bleeding time. The bleeding time test is the most common test to check if the blood clotting has issues. The blood, not clotting disease occurs in very few people.

There are also a few other tests available to evaluate if a person suffers from bleeding problems. If there is prolonged bleeding in a person, it indicates that the person has an acquired defect of platelet function. The test is also carried out to determine epistaxis.

Blood clotting mechanism in few people may not function properly, and hence clotting could be difficult.

What other tests might I have along with Bleeding time and Clotting time Test?

If the bleeding test comes positive, in order to confirm the results a set of coagulation tests is recommended. These coagulation tests could be any of the following or a few done together:

What do my test results mean?

The normal bleeding time is between 2-7 minutes. The normal clotting time in a person is between 8-15 minutes. By understanding the time taken for blood to clot, it can be determined if the person has haemophilia or von Willibrand’s disease.

Bleeding time normal range can still be considered between a one1 minute to eight minutes.

If the bleeding time is outside the range, it could imply an underlying platelet defect, and there should be more tests done to confirm it. An abnormal bleeding time indicates that the person could have acquired platelet function defect. An acquired platelet function defect develops after birth.

In this kind of a defect, the platelets may not be working properly, or the body might be producing too many platelets or fewer platelets. The abnormal results could mean:

  • That the person has a defect in the blood vessel wherein the blood vessels are unable to transport blood properly throughout the body
  • That the person has a genetic platelet function disorder by birth. This genetic disorder could affect the function of the platelets. For example haemophilia.
  • The person could be suffering from thrombocythemia wherein the person bone marrow starts creating too many platelets in the body.
  • The person could be suffering from thrombocytopenia wherein the person bone marrow starts creating too little platelets in the body.
  • The person may be suffering from Von Willebrand’s disease. This is an acquired hereditary disease that affects the process of blood coagulation in a person.

How is Bleeding time and Clotting time Test done?

The test is performed by a nurse or a doctor. The nurse/doctor cleans the site of puncture with an antiseptic to ensure that there is a minimal infection from the procedure. A pressure cuff is placed around the arm, and it is inflated.

The pressure cuff is placed on the upper arm. Then, two cuts that are small in size are made on the lower arm. These cuts cause a little bleeding. These are extremely shallow cuts. Then the cuff is removed from the arm.

The bleeding time and clot time is checked using a timer. Every 30 seconds the blood from the cuts is blotted with blotting paper till the bleeding stops. Once the procedure is completed the cuts are bandaged.

Does Bleeding time and Clotting time Test pose any risk?

Since this test cuts are made on the skin of the arm, there is a risk of infection as well as excessive bleeding from the person’s body. A little bleeding will occur since the test is done to check on the bleeding.

The risk of excessive bleeding is low, and there may be minor risks such as pain or inflammation at the site of the cut on the arm.

What might affect my test results?

The bleeding time test may be affected by medications that are used by the person. There are several medications that may act as anticoagulants and affect the time taken for bleeding and clotting. Hence if the person is on any medication or supplement or herbs, this should be immediately informed to the doctor.

Also, a diet full of green and leafy vegetables may affect the clotting time. If the person has very low platelet count, then the BT test should not be done on the person.

Also, people on anticoagulants or who have lymph nodes dissected should not undergo the BT test. The scars that are made for the BT test remain visible for a long time in people who tend to have keloids.

How do I prepare for Bleeding time and Clotting time Test?

Before the test, it is important to inform the doctor of any medications that the person is on and also any over the counter drugs that the person may be consuming.

Even if there are any vitamins that a person is taking should be informed to the doctor. It is to be noted that medicines such as aspirin affect blood clotting.

It is important to stop any medication a few days before the test based on the doctor’s advice.

Understanding results of Bleeding Time and Clotting Time

Reference RangeInterpretation
2-7 minutes (Bleeding Time)Normal
8-15 minutes (Clotting Time)Normal

References

  1. https://medlineplus.gov/labtests/coagulationfactortests.html
  2. https://labtestsonline.org/tests/coagulation-factors
  3. http://www.aacc.org/publications/cln/articles/2012/january/coagulation-tests