When we cut ourselves, coagulation — also known as clotting — is the process that prevents us from bleeding out excessively. Blood changes from a liquid to a solid-state, forming a blood clot. Through coagulation, our bodies can begin to heal and recover from wounds.
Abnormal coagulation happens when people bleed too easily and excessively or when clots develop in their blood vessels. Blood coagulation tests and interpretations allow your doctor to assess how quickly and how well your blood clots.
In this article, we will break down everything you need to know about blood coagulation tests.
What is Hemostasis?
Hemostasis is a group of metabolic processes — including coagulation — that allow bleeding to stop. Without it, wound healing would not be possible. The three phases of hemostasis are:
- Vasoconstriction: The blood vessel becomes narrower from the contraction of the muscular walls of the blood vessel.
- Vascular platelet phase: Platelets cells, also known as thrombocytes, slow the bleeding by adhering to the blood vessel walls and to each other, forming a palette plug. This assures the primary hemostasis.
- Blood coagulation: Clotting enzymes convert fibrinogen into fibrin, which forms a blood clot.
Types of Coagulation Tests
Coagulation profile tests aim to examine the process and factors present in the hemostasis. The types of coagulation tests are:
This blood coagulation test analyzes how quickly the blood vessels close up after getting a cut.
During the test, a small cut will be done on the forearm. Doctors will measure the time it takes for the bleeding to stop after the cut was done. The wound can be cleaned up, but pressure must not be applied.
The normal time-lapse for bleeding to stop is around 7 to 9 minutes. Abnormal bleeding lapses might indicate:
- Blood vessel defect
- Low platelet count levels (Thrombocytopenia)
- Platelet aggregation defect
Prothrombin Time and Partial Thromboplastin Time
Both tests focus on analyzing all of the clotting factors (proteins) of the hemostasia.
These tests consist of taking a blood sample to analyze in a lab. The results of the test will indicate the amount of time your blood takes to form a clot. The average time is around 10 to 14 seconds.
These tests are helpful to check conditions like:
- Lack of vitamin K
- Liver problems
- Bleeding disorder
- Bone marrow problems
Depending on your health condition, your doctor will determine which of the two tests is necessary. Sometimes doctors order both tests to have a better and more complete insight into your fibrin production.
This test measures how quick is the process of converting fibrinogen into fibrin during the presence of thrombin.
Abnormal results might indicate:
- Low levels of fibrinogen (< 100 mg/dl)
- Abnormal fibrinogen
- Presence of substances(medications, supplements) that interfere with clotting
- Liver disease
Fibrin degradation products blood test
Fibrin degradation products (FDPs) are blood components left behind in the bloodstream after clots have dissolved in the blood.
A blood sample is required for this test. The results aim to show if the fibrinolytic system works properly. The fibrinolytic system is responsible for regulating the blood flow by preventing the development of unnecessary blood clots.
Normal results are usually below 10 mcg/mL. Abnormal results may be a sign of:
- Blood clotting problems
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Low oxygen levels in the blood
- Pregnancy problems like preeclampsia, placenta abruption, miscarriages
- Congenital heart disease
BASS Urgent Care provides laboratory tests and diagnostic procedures under high-quality medical standards. Reach out to us to book an appointment today.