10 Diagnostic Procedures To Detect Abnormal Platelet Count

10 Diagnostic Procedures To Detect Abnormal Platelet Count


Platelets are formed in the bone marrow along with red blood cells and white blood cells. They are small cells that helps in the clotting process. Clotting is required to stop bleeding.

Platelets along with some other proteins such as fibrin help in the clotting process. There are many steps involved in clotting, all of which start with an injury or bleeding. Different proteins and platelet concerned interplays a series of actions that ultimately result in the formation of a clot.

Diagnostic procedures for detecting abnormal platelet count

1. Blood smear.

A blood smear is a laboratory procedure that involves putting a drop of blood collected from the patient’s veins and smeared on a slide to create homogenous distribution of blood film.

It is then examined under a microscope for unusual shapes or sizes. Platelets are visible as small dot like structures which can be roughly numbered to identify any abnormal high or low count.

This method also gives an opportunity to look at the morphology of the platelets which is also an important factor in diagnosing any disease related to platelets.

2. Hemocytometer.

This is the simplest method to count platelets. It is done by taking a sample of blood from the veins and making a smear of blood on a special slide. This slide is then examined under a microscope where an estimate of the cell count is made.

All types of blood cells can be counted with this method. The procedure may simply give a rough estimate of the person’s platelet count but enough to detect an abnormal count.

One great advantage of this method is that the morphology of cells can also be seen through the microscope. It is a long and painstaking procedure and mostly done away with the advent of new and faster technologies.

3. Cell counter.

A coulter counter is a sophisticated piece of equipment that can be used to count platelets rapidly. A sample of blood from the veins is taken and passed through electrical impedence.

The electrical impedence is a kind of resistance applied to the path of cells. Since different cells differ in their properties, they are separated out from one to another.

The platelets also gets separated and are counted by the automated machine. This machine gives platelet count results in minutes of putting the sample in.

4. PFA-100

PFA-100 is a relatively new diagnostic procedure to detect abnormal platelet count. It detects platelet dependent coagulation under lab conditions and gives a rough estimate on platelet levels of the body.

Comparing to older techniques of detecting coagulation, such as the bleeding time and the clotting time, where the coagulation process is checked on the actual human body itself by creating a cut (intentional source of bleeding), new approaches is more preferable. This old technique that involves cutting the patient with a surgical instrument and letting the cut bleed was considered brutal practice having it mostly discontinued now.

In PFA-100, the blood sample is simply collected with a needle and a syringe. The rest of the test is conducted in a lab. It gives a better estimate of the bleeding and clotting tendencies without the need for cutting.

5. Bone marrow examination.

Bone marrow is accessible for examination under a microscope or a cell counter through specialized needles called bone marrow aspiration and biopsy needles.

The needles used are long enough to reach the bone marrow after penetrating the skin, fat, muscle and the bone in that order. The collected bone marrow looks just like blood, only fresh and has to be prepared immediately for examination.

The slides and the marrow itself can be used to measure platelet levels and estimate platelet function.

6. Radiolabelled ELISA

It is a diagnostic procedure performed to detect abnormal platelet count where antibodies are used to detect the presence of any substance.

The antibodies are made against a specific platelet antigen. The antibody is radiolabelled and can be easily detected with radio scanners that give an exact count of the sample.

The count is used to estimate if there are any abnormal number of platelets present in the body.

7. PT

Prothrombin time is the time it takes for the formation of prothrombin. Prothrombin is a protein required in the formation of blood clots.

The test gives an estimate on the coagulation or bleeding tendency of the body in conjunction with the clotting factor’s availability. If the results comes prolonged, it suggests that a bleeding tendency is present in the body.

8. aPTT

Activated partial thromboplastin time is the time taken for the formation of activated partial thromboplastin. It is another protein that is involved in the clotting cycle.

It shows the time it takes for a sample of blood to clot naturally. It gives an estimate on bleeding and clotting tendencies.


This is another test that differentiates a clotting disorder from a bleeding disorder. It is used in conjunction with PT and INR.

10. INR

International normalized ratio is a technique that uses a calculation that is dependent on the prothrombin time of the patient and standardised prothrombin time in a lab. This calculation gives an estimate on the coagulation or bleeding tendencies of the body.


Strictly speaking, the last four tests do not give an exact counting of platelets in the body but are used in conjunction with other tests to measure the bleeding or the clotting tendency of the body. This gives a clue towards the diagnosis of a disease. Once the diagnosis is made, the disease can be treated as appropriate. Check out uses of blood platelets in patients.

It will be a really horrible situation to experience sudden and uncontrolled gushing out of blood from the nose, gums and other openings of the body. And sadly, it could happen with a really low platelet count. Before that happens, better manage it immediately. This may usually be a costly endeavor but there are affordable options such as all-natural remedies you can learn from money back guaranteed materials like Conquer Low Platelets.

All of the above mentioned tests are performed after a good history check from the patient along with a detailed examination by the physician. These two steps mark the most important factors in directing a physician toward a diagnosis.

The physician then uses the diagnostic procedures to detect abnormalities to rule out any possibilities suspected during the history taking and examination process.

All of the above mentioned tests may not be done simultaneously; but will certainly be significant procedures in the management of abnormal platelets. Usage depends on the most appropriate method with regards to findings.

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