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Platelet antibodies blood test

Definition

This blood test shows if you have antibodies against platelets in your blood. Platelets are a part of the blood that helps the blood clot.

Alternative Names

Thrombocytopenia - platelet antibody; Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura - platelet antibody

How the Test Is Performed

A blood sample is needed.

How to Prepare for the Test

No special preparation is needed for this test.

How the Test will Feel

When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain. Others feel only a prick or stinging. Afterward, there may be some throbbing or slight bruising. This soon goes away.

Why the Test Is Performed

An antibody is a protein produced by your body's immune system to attack harmful substances, called antigens. Examples of antigens include bacteria and viruses.

Antibodies may be produced when your immune system mistakenly considers healthy tissue to be a harmful substance. In the case of platelet antibodies, your body created antibodies to attack platelets. As a result, you will have a lower than normal number of platelets in your body. This condition is called thrombocytopenia, and it can cause too much bleeding.

This test is often ordered because you have a bleeding problem.

Normal Results

A negative test is normal. This means that you do not have anti-platelet antibodies in your blood.

Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or test different samples. Talk to your health care provider about the meaning of your specific test results.

What Abnormal Results Mean

Abnormal results show that you have anti-platelet antibodies. Anti-platelet antibodies may appear in the blood due to any of the following:

  • For unknown reasons (idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, or ITP)
  • Side effect of certain drugs such as gold, heparin, quinidine, and quinine

Risks

Veins and arteries vary in size, so it may be harder to take a blood sample from one person than another.

Other slight risks from having blood drawn may include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Fainting or feeling lightheaded
  • Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
  • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)

References

Chernecky CC, Berger BJ. Platelet antibody - blood. In: Chernecky CC, Berger BJ, eds. Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures. 6th ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:885.

Warkentin TE. Thrombocytopenia caused by platelet destruction, hypersplenism, or hemodilution. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ Jr, Silberstein LE, Heslop HE, Weitz JI, Anastasi J, eds. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:chap 134.

Review Date:2/1/2017
Reviewed By:Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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Outcome Data

No data available for this condition/procedure.

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