Partial thromboplastin time

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Partial thromboplastin time
Intervention
Coagulation diagram.png
Common notation of coagulation times in medical records
MeSH D010314

The partial thromboplastin time (PTT) or activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT or APTT) is a medical test that characterizes blood coagulation. Apart from detecting abnormalities in blood clotting,[1] it is also used to monitor the treatment effects with heparin, a major anticoagulant. PTT is a performance indicator of the efficacy of both the "intrinsic" (now referred to as the contact activation pathway) and the common coagulation pathways. It is used in conjunction with the prothrombin time (PT) which measures the extrinsic pathway. Kaolin cephalin clotting time (KccT) is a historic name for the activated partial thromboplastin time.[2]

Method[edit]

Blood samples are collected in tubes containing oxalate or citrate, which arrest coagulation by binding calcium. The specimen is then delivered to the laboratory. Then, in order to activate the intrinsic pathway of coagulation, phospholipid, an activator (such as silica, celite, kaolin, ellagic acid), and calcium (to reverse the anticoagulant effect of the oxalate) are mixed into the plasma sample. The time is measured until a thrombus (clot) forms. This testing is performed by a medical technologist.

The test is termed "partial" due to the absence of tissue factor from the reaction mixture.

Interpretation[edit]

The typical reference range is between 30 seconds and 50 s (depending on laboratory). Shortening of the PTT is considered to have little clinical relevance, but some research indicates that it might increase risk of thromboembolism.[3] Normal PTT times require the presence of the following coagulation factors: I, II, V, VIII, IX, X, XI, & XII. Notably, deficiencies in factors VII or XIII will not be detected with the PTT test. Prolonged APTT may indicate:

To distinguish the above causes, mixing tests are performed, in which the patient's plasma is mixed (initially at a 50:50 dilution) with normal plasma. If the abnormality does not disappear, the sample is said to contain an "inhibitor" (either heparin, antiphospholipid antibodies or coagulation factor specific inhibitors), while if it does occur a factor deficiency is more likely. Deficiencies of factors VIII, IX, XI and XII and rarely von Willebrand factor (if causing a low factor VIII level) may lead to a prolonged aPTT correcting on mixing studies.

Laboratory findings in various platelet and coagulation disorders (V - T)
Condition Prothrombin time Partial thromboplastin time Bleeding time Platelet count
Vitamin K deficiency or warfarin Prolonged Normal or mildly prolonged Unaffected Unaffected
Disseminated intravascular coagulation Prolonged Prolonged Prolonged Decreased
Von Willebrand disease Unaffected Prolonged or unaffected Prolonged Unaffected
Hemophilia Unaffected Prolonged Unaffected Unaffected
Aspirin Unaffected Unaffected Prolonged Unaffected
Thrombocytopenia Unaffected Unaffected Prolonged Decreased
Liver failure, early Prolonged Unaffected Unaffected Unaffected
Liver failure, end-stage Prolonged Prolonged Prolonged Decreased
Uremia Unaffected Unaffected Prolonged Unaffected
Congenital afibrinogenemia Prolonged Prolonged Prolonged Unaffected
Factor V deficiency Prolonged Prolonged Unaffected Unaffected
Factor X deficiency as seen in amyloid purpura Prolonged Prolonged Unaffected Unaffected
Glanzmann's thrombasthenia Unaffected Unaffected Prolonged Unaffected
Bernard-Soulier syndrome Unaffected Unaffected Prolonged Decreased or unaffected
Factor XII deficiency Unaffected Prolonged Unaffected Unaffected
C1INH deficiency Unaffected Shortened Unaffected Unaffected

History[edit]

The aPTT was first described in 1953 by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: Partial thromboplastin time (PTT)". Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  2. ^ "KCCT - General Practice Notebook". GP Notebook. Oxbridge Solutions Ltd. Retrieved 2010-06-08. 
  3. ^ Korte, Wolfgang; Clarke, Susan; Lefkowitz, Jerry B. (January 2000). "Short activated partial thromboplastin times are related to increased thrombin generation and an increased risk for thromboembolism". American journal of clinical pathology 113 (1): 123–7. doi:10.1309/G98J-ANA9-RMNC-XLYU. PMID 10631865. 
  4. ^ Langdell RD, Wagner RH, Brinkhous KM (1953). "Effect of antihemophilic factor on one-stage clotting tests; a presumptive test for hemophilia and a simple one-stage antihemophilic factor assy procedure". J. Lab. Clin. Med. 41 (4): 637–47. PMID 13045017.