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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Tests and Exams > Prothrombin Time

Prothrombin Time

Alternate Names : PT

Overview & Description | Preparation & Expectations | Results and Values

The prothrombin time test, also called PT, helps measure how well your blood is able to clot. It is much like the partial thromboplastin time test, which is also called PTT . These two tests are often ordered together.

At least 12 different proteins are involved in clotting. The PT and PTT tests each measure the function of some of these proteins.

Who is a candidate for the test?

This test may be done:

  • when a person has a bleeding problem
  • to monitor a person who is taking blood-thinning medicine
  • before surgery to make sure a person will not bleed too much during the operation
  • How is the test performed?

    A blood sample is usually taken from a vein on the forearm or hand. The skin over the vein is first cleaned with an antiseptic. Next, a strong rubber tube called a tourniquet is wrapped around the upper arm. This restricts blood flow through the veins in the lower arm and causes them to enlarge.

    A small needle is inserted into a vein and the tourniquet is removed. Blood flows from the vein through the needle. It is collected in a syringe or vial. After the needle is withdrawn, the puncture site is covered to prevent bleeding. The blood sample is sent to a lab for testing.


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    Prothrombin Time: Preparation & Expectations

    Author: David T. Moran, MD
    Reviewer: Melinda Murray Ratini, DO
    Date Reviewed: 08/15/02

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