Prothrombin Time and INR
Prothrombin time (PT) is a blood test
that measures how long it takes blood to clot.
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.
A method of standardizing prothrombin time results, called
the international normalized ratio (INR) system, has been developed so the
results among labs using different test methods can be understood in the same
way. Using the INR system, treatment with warfarin (Coumadin) will be the same. In some labs, only the INR is
reported and the PT is not reported.
Prothrombin time (PT) and international normalized
|Prothrombin time (PT):
The warfarin (Coumadin) dose is changed so that the
prothrombin time is longer than normal (by about 1.5 to 2.5 times the normal
value or INR values 2 to 3). Prothrombin times are also kept at longer times
for people with artificial heart valves, because these valves have a high
chance of causing clots to form.
- A longer-than-normal PT can mean a lack of or
low level of one or more blood clotting factors (factors I, II, V, VII, or X).
It can also mean a lack of vitamin K; liver disease, such as
cirrhosis; or that a liver injury has occurred. A
longer-than-normal PT can also mean that you have
disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), a
life-threatening condition in which your body uses up its clotting factors so
quickly that the blood cannot clot and bleeding does not stop.
longer-than-normal PT can be caused by treatment with blood-thinning medicines,
such as warfarin (Coumadin) or, in rare cases, heparin.