What is a prothrombin time (PT) test?
A prothrombin time (PT) test measures how rapidly your blood clots using blood samples. If you use the blood thinner warfarin, your healthcare practitioner may do this test to check your prothrombin levels. This test is often used to look into possible blood diseases. A high PT level indicates that your body takes longer than usual to develop blood clots.
A prothrombin time (PT) test measures how rapidly your blood clots using blood samples. When you get hurt and bleed, your body goes through a series of steps to form clots that halt the bleeding. Proteins known as coagulation factors or clotting factors are involved in this process. Prothrombin is one of numerous clotting agents that work together to form blood clots. Nevertheless, the clotting process fails if not enough of each clotting factor is present, and not all factors operate properly. A high PT level indicates that your body takes longer than normal to create clots.
What is the need of a PT test?
If you use the blood thinner warfarin, your healthcare practitioner may order this test to check your prothrombin levels. Warfarin aids in the prevention of blood clots, which can lead to catastrophic illnesses including deep venous thrombosis or pulmonary embolism.
This test is also needed when a person is not taking warfarin. There are various conditions when your doctor may order a prothrombin time test:
- You're having surgery, and your doctor wants to make sure your blood clotting mechanism is working properly. A prothrombin time test is one method.
- You are experiencing bruises,nosebleeds, or wounds that won't stop bleeding. A PT test can identify the source of the problem, allowing your doctor to address it.
- You have bleeding disease symptoms. A prothrombin time test is the initial step in determining possible issues.
How to prepare for a prothrombin time test?
Certain drugs, supplements, foods, and beverages may impact test findings. Inform the doctor if you are using any drugs or supplements. Ask your doctor beforehand what you should avoid before your test. Medications that may have an impact on PT test results include:
- A few antibiotics.
- Contraception pills.
- Hormone replacement treatment.
What happens during a Prothrombin Time test?
A prothrombin time test is a basic blood test. Your healthcare professional will take a blood sample from your veins, for this first he will wrap an elastic band over your upper arm and you have to create a fist. Forming a fist allows your blood to flow more freely. As your healthcare professional inserts the needle, you may feel a sting or prick. When your healthcare practitioner has completed extracting blood, they will apply a tiny bandage to the site where the needle was entered.
If you are not on blood-thinning medication, blood plasma should clot in 11 to 13.5 seconds. PT findings are frequently given as an international normalized ratio (INR), which is a number. A normal range for someone who is not using blood thinner medication is 0.9 to around 1.1. The anticipated INR for someone on warfarin is generally between 2 and 3.5.
If your blood clots within the regular time frame, you most likely do not have a bleeding issue. A clot will develop more slowly if you are using a blood thinner. Your target clotting time will be determined by your doctor.
If your blood does not clot in the expected period, you may:
If you might have a bleeding disorder, the doctor may suggest factor replacement treatment, blood platelets, or fresh frozen plasma transfusions.