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Partial thromboplastin time (PTT)

Definition

Partial thromboplastin time (PTT) is a blood test that looks at how long it takes for blood to clot. It can help tell if you have bleeding or clotting problems.

Alternative Names

APTT; PTT; Activated partial thromboplastin time

How the Test is Performed

The health care provider uses a needle to take blood from one of your veins. The blood collects into an air-tight container. You may be given a bandage to stop any bleeding. If you are taking a medicine called heparin, you will be watched for signs of bleeding.

The lab specialist will add chemicals to the blood sample and see how many seconds it takes for the blood to clot.

How to Prepare for the Test

How the Test will Feel

Why the Test is Performed

Normal Results

What Abnormal Results Mean

Risks

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Fainting or feeling light-headed
  • Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
  • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)
  • Multiple punctures to locate veins

References


Review Date: 2/2/2013
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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