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Coagulation tests are used to see how well a patient’s blood clots. Blood clots prevent a person from bleeding to death, but the blood should not clot in the body. It is a simple blood test performed in our laboratory.
- If a clot forms in the blood, it can travel to the other organs and cause a stroke or death.
- A coagulation test measures how fast the blood clots and the patient’s ability to clot blood.
Reasons for a Coagulation Test
A doctor may recommend a coagulation test if he or she suspects a patient has a clotting disorder. The tests measure the number of proteins and how each of the proteins is functioning. Liver disease is one condition that can cause clotting issues. Thrombophilia, where the blood clots too much, and hemophilia, where the blood does not clot enough, are two other conditions that cause coagulation problems.
Categories of Coagulation Tests
Many different types of coagulation tests are available. Some of the most popular tests are:
- Factor V Assay is a test that shows how much Factor V is present. This test can indicate liver disease or DIC (disseminated intravascular coagulation).
- Complete Blood Count (CBC) measures the amount of red blood cells present in the blood stream. This test may be ordered as part of a regular examination.
- Bleeding Time is a test that examines how fast blood vessels close up and stop bleeding. This test is different from the other coagulation tests in that a blood pressure cuff is placed on the arm and the health professional makes tiny punctures along the arm. Blotting paper is placed on the arm every 30 seconds until the bleeding stops.
- Fibrinogen Level tests how much of the protein called fibrinogen is in the blood. Placental abruption, fibrinolysis, or hemorrhages can be detected with this test.
- Thrombin Time is a test used to determine how well the fibrinogen proteins are working. Red flags from this test may show cancer, liver disease, or complications from medications.
- Prothrombin Time tests how long it takes for blood to clot and how well the blood clots. The results should be around 30 seconds, and any shorter or longer may indicate clotting issues.
- Platelet Count measures the platelets in the blood. The platelets are the cells that aid in the blood clotting.
All of the above tests require the withdrawing of a small amount of blood, except for the Bleeding Time test.
Results of the Coagulation Test
Each test can take a few hours to a few days to be analyzed by a laboratory. After the lab analyzes the specimen, a doctor will interpret the results. The results can show a variety of irregularities. These abnormalities can help detect certain types of coagulation issues. Liver disease, bone marrow disease, and other diseases can be identified and require further testing.