Decrease (-) Restore Default Increase (+)
Bookmark and Share

Health Library

Back to MainBack to Main   Print This Page Print    Email to a Friend Email
 

Bleeding time

Definition

Bleeding time is a blood test that looks at how fast small blood vessels in the skin close to stop you from bleeding.

How the Test is Performed

A blood pressure cuff is inflated around your upper arm. While the cuff is on your arm, the health care provider makes two small cuts on the lower arm. They are just deep enough to cause a tiny amount of bleeding.

The blood pressure cuff is immediately deflated. Blotting paper is touched to the cuts every 30 seconds until the bleeding stops. The health care provider records the time it takes for the cuts to stop bleeding.

How to Prepare for the Test

Certain medications may change the test results. Always tell your doctor what medicines you are taking, even over-the-counter drugs. Drugs that may increase bleeding times include dextran, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and salicylates (including aspirin).

Your doctor may tell you to stop taking certain medicines a few days before the test. Never stop taking medicine without first talking to your doctor.

How the Test will Feel

The tiny cuts are very shallow. Most people say it feels like a skin scratch.

Why the Test is Performed

This test helps diagnose bleeding problems.

Normal Results

Bleeding normally stops within 1 to 9 minutes. However, values may vary from lab to lab.

What Abnormal Results Mean

Longer-than-normal bleeding time may be due to:

Additional conditions under which the test may be performed:

Risks

There is a very slight risk of infection where the skin is broken. Excessive bleeding is rare.

References

Schmaier AH. Laboratory evaluation of hemostatic and thrombotic disorders. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ Jr, Silberstein LE, Heslop HE, Weitz JI, eds. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier;

Schafer A. Approach to the patient with bleeding and thrombosis In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 174.


Review Date: 3/3/2013
Reviewed By: Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com
 

Medical Care

Cancer
Pregnancy & Prenatal Classes
Weight Loss
Orthopedics
Heart Disease
Neurology
Women's Health
More Medical Care

Locations

Hospitals
Immediate Care
Health Centers
Emergency Room
Doctors Offices
Specialists
Affiliate Hospitals

Patients and Visitors

MyChart
Pay Your Bill
Request an Appointment
Get Healthy
Support Groups
Fitness Groups
Mobile Applications
Clinical Trials
Online Nursery
Classes and Events
Send an eCard
Patient Stories
Places to Stay
Say Thanks

About Us

Quality Report 
Careers
Ways to Help
Community Outreach
Contact Us
(502) 629-1234

Connect with us

© 2014 Norton Healthcare
Serving Kentucky and Southern Indiana