Platelet function tests. Types and Result means

Platelet function tests. what these tests are and their importance in detecting and treating blood disorders such as thrombocytopenia.

Platelet function tests are blood tests used to measure the ability of blood platelets to clot and stop bleeding. They can provide useful information about your risk of developing bleeding and clotting issues, as well as help diagnose certain conditions such as thrombocytopenia.

What are Platelet Function Tests?

Platelet function tests are a group of assays that use specialized equipment to measure the ability of platelets to aggregate and promote blood clotting.

There are two types of platelet tests: a platelet aggregation test and a platelet function test. The aggregation test is based on the in vitro activation and adhesion of platelets that lie all over a standardized plate covered by a substrate of blood.

The major goal of traditional platelet function tests has been to screen and diagnose patients who present with bleeding problems.

Platelet function tests, on the other hand, are designed to measure the rate at which your blood clots. Physicians who are treating cardiovascular patients will often order a platelet function test to monitor the rate of blood clotting.

Why are Platelet Function Tests Used?

Platelet function tests
Platelet function tests

Platelet aggregation tests check how well your platelets clump together to form blood clots. These tests are also used to:

  • Monitoring the effectiveness of treatment for conditions like thrombocytopenia purpura (TP).
  • Monitoring the effect of medications on platelet function, such as blood thinners.
  • Screen and diagnose patients who present with bleeding problems.
  • Monitoring the number of platelets in blood during cardiac surgery.
  • Maintain a delicate balance between blood loss and blood clotting.
  • Aid in the diagnosis and management of patients with platelet and hemostatic disorders.
  • Monitor the response to treatment for conditions such as thrombocytopenia or myocardial infarction.

Types of Platelet Function Tests

There are a variety of platelet function tests that can be used to screen and diagnose patients who present with bleeding problems.

Closure time

There are a few types of platelet function tests that are available to the clinical laboratory. Closure time, measured by the platelet function analyzer (PFA-100®) device, is one such test.

The goal of closure time testing is to screen and diagnose platelet disorders. Up to a maximum of 300 minutes can be recorded. Closure time testing may also be used to monitor the response to antiplatelet medication.


Viscoelastometry is a well-established method for the detection and measurement of blood flow and shear stress in biological systems.

This test is used to detect and measure blood flow and shear stress in the blood vessels of the arm. This test can be used to diagnose conditions such as atherosclerosis, vasculitis, and Reynaud’s disease.


The lumiaggregometry test employs specialised equipment to assess platelets’ ability to aggregate and promote wound healing.
When certain substances are added to a blood sample, the amount of light produced is measured. This can help determine whether or not the platelets are defective.

Platelet Aggregation Tests

Platelet aggregometry is a test that detects the increase in electrical impedance generated by the aggregation of other platelets.

Bleeding time

This test determines how long it takes for the bleeding to stop after small cuts are made in the forearm. It was once widely used to screen for a wide range of platelet disorders. Other platelet function tests are now being used more frequently. The results of the newer tests are more reliable.

Platelet Adhesion Tests

Platelet function tests check your platelets’ ability to form adhesions under shear stress.

Why do I need a platelet test?

If you have symptoms of too few or too many platelets, you may need a platelet count and/or platelet function tests.

Symptoms of too few platelets include:

  • Bleeding for a long time after a minor cut or injury
  • Purple spots on the skin are called purpura.
  • Pinpointing.
  • heavy and/or prolonged periods
  • Unexplained bruising
  • Nosebleeds

Symptoms of too many platelets include:

  • Numbness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness

You may also need platelet function tests if you:

  • Undergoing a complex surgery
  • Taking medicines to reduce clotting.

Related: MCV Blood Test. Preparations and Results Interpretations

Preparation for Platelet Function Tests

A platelet count test does not necessitate any special preparations. Certain medications, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, may need to be stopped before a platelet function test. Your health care provider will notify you if there are any special instructions to follow.

What do the results mean?

If your results show a lower-than-normal platelet count (thrombocytopenia), it may indicate:

  • cancers that affect the blood, such as :
    • leukemia
    • lymphoma
  • viral infections, such as :
    • Mononucleosis hepatitis
    • Measles
  • An autoimmune disease.
  • Cirrhosis
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Gestational thrombocytopenia.

If your results show a higher than normal platelet count (thrombocytosis), it may indicate:

  • certain types of cancer, such as lung or breast cancer
  • Anemia
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • A viral or bacterial infection

If your platelet function test results are abnormal, it may mean that you have an inherited or acquired platelet disorder. Inherited platelet disorders include:

  • Von Willebrand disease.
  • Glanzmann’s thrombocytopenia.
  • Bernard-Soulier syndrome
  • Reservoir disease

Acquired platelet disorders may be due to chronic conditions such as:

  • Kidney failure
  • Certain types of leukemia
  • Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).

Platelet function tests is necessary to check the ability of your platelets to form clots.Therefore, the specialist doctor may request it to diagnose some medical conditions.

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