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Partial Thromboplastin Time

How It Is Done

The health professional drawing blood will:

  • Wrap an elastic band around your upper arm to stop the flow of blood. This makes the veins below the band larger so it is easier to put a needle into the vein.
  • Clean the needle site with alcohol.
  • Put the needle into the vein. More than one needle stick may be needed.
  • Attach a tube to the needle to fill it with blood.
  • Remove the band from your arm when enough blood is collected.
  • Put a gauze pad or cotton ball over the needle site as the needle is removed.
  • Put pressure to the site and then a bandage.

How It Feels

The blood sample is taken from a vein in your arm. An elastic band is wrapped around your upper arm. It may feel tight. You may feel nothing at all from the needle, or you may feel a quick sting or pinch.

Risks

There is very little chance of a problem from having a blood sample taken from a vein.

  • You may get a small bruise at the site. You can lower the chance of bruising by keeping pressure on the site for several minutes.
  • In rare cases, the vein may become swollen after the blood sample is taken. This problem is called phlebitis. A warm compress can be used several times a day to treat this.
  • Ongoing bleeding can be a problem for people with bleeding disorders. Aspirin, warfarin (such as Coumadin), and other blood-thinning medicines can make bleeding more likely. If you have bleeding or clotting problems, or if you take blood-thinning medicine, tell your doctor before your blood sample is taken.

Results

Partial thromboplastin time (PTT) is a blood test that measures the time it takes your blood to clot.

Normal

The normal values listed here—called a reference range—are just a guide. These ranges vary from lab to lab, and your lab may have a different range for what's normal. Your lab report should contain the range your lab uses. Also, your doctor will evaluate your results based on your health and other factors. This means that a value that falls outside the normal values listed here may still be normal for you or your lab.

Partial thromboplastin time1
Partial thromboplastin time (PTT):

60–70 seconds

Activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT):

30–40 seconds

The heparin dose is changed so that the PTT or APTT result is about 1.5 to 2.5 times the normal value.1

Abnormal values

  • A longer-than-normal PTT or APTT can mean a lack of or low level of one of the blood clotting factors or another substance needed to clot blood. This can be caused by bleeding disorders, such as hemophilia or von Willebrand's disease.
  • A longer-than-normal PTT or APTT can be caused by liver disease, kidney disease (such as nephrotic syndrome), or treatment with blood thinners, such as heparin or warfarin (Coumadin).
  • A longer-than-normal PTT may be caused by conditions such as antiphospholipid antibody syndrome or lupus anticoagulant syndrome. These conditions happen when the immune system makes antibodies that attack blood clotting factors. This can cause the blood to clot easily in veins and arteries.
  • The PTT can get longer when you are using heparin, so your PTT value needs to be closely checked. If you have a longer PTT, you may have a higher risk of bleeding.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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