Several coagulation factors are involved in the body to form blood clots that help stop bleeding, or hemostasis. When an injury occurs and bleeding begins, some proteins are activated to help to form a clot. There must be a sufficient quantity of each coagulation factor in order for normal clotting to occur. Too little can lead to excessive bleeding; too much may lead to excessive clotting. The prothrombin time, or PT test, along with a calculation of internationalized normalized ratio, or INR, measures the length of time it takes for a clot to form in a sample of blood. PT/INR blood tests are often used to monitor patients taking blood-thinning medications, such as Warfarin or Coumadin. These tests help to ensure the dosage prescribed is providing the right balance.
The goal of blood-thinning medication therapy is to maintain the balance between preventing clots and causing excessive bleeding. This balance requires careful monitoring. Our Internist may also order PT tests when a person who is not taking anticoagulant drugs has warning signs or symptoms, such as:
- Acute Condition like DIC
- Bleeding Gums
- Blood Clot in a Vein or Artery
- Chronic Condition like Lupus
- Easy Bruising
- Prior to Surgery with Risk of Blood Loss
- Unexplained Bleeding
Prothrombin time and partial thromboplastin time (PTT) tests may also be ordered if you have a clinical history of bleeding, even though you are not currently taking blood-thinning medications. Although the results are not standalone diagnostics, they do provide a health practitioner with clues to what disorder may be present. Since consumed substances, supplements and food can impact the results of PT and INR results, it is important for medical provider to know what a patient has recently ingested.
If you are suffering with one or more of the symptoms listed above or are already taking blood thinning medications and need assistance with PT/INR monitoring, contact Delta IMC at (407) 985-1940 or Request An Appointment online.