What is a platelet count?

A platelet count is one of the components of the full blood count. It measures the number of platelets in the bloodstream. Platelets are partly responsible for clot formation.

How is a platelet count performed?

A platelet count is a blood test.

When would you need a platelet count?

A platelet count may be requested as part of a full blood count for a vast number of possible reasons, or in conjunction with a coagulation profile, for bleeding or bruising problems.

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Platelet count results explained

Low platelet count

A low platelet count (thrombocytopaenia) may be due to a variety of causes, including idiopathic thrombocytopaenic purpura (ITP).

A low platelet count may cause cuts or grazes to bleed for longer than usual, easy bruising of the skin, or excessive bleeding from the gums after brushing the teeth. Usually, a low platelet count does not result in serious bleeding, unless the platelet count is below 50.

Platelet transfusions are only considered in the presence of life-threatening bleeding, or before invasive procedures that may cause serious bleeding, or sometimes when the platelet count is below 10.

High platelet count

A high platelet count is called thrombocytosis, and is a disorder where the body is producing too many platelets.

If your platelet count suggests thrombocytosis, your doctor will need to distinguish whether it is reactive or essential thrombocytosis.

Essential thrombocytosis increases your risk of blood clots, whereas reactive typically does not (unless you have severe arterial disease).

Related specialists

Related procedures

  • Blood Test (venesection)
  • Bone Marrow Biopsy

Related tests

Also known as

  • Platelets
  • Plts


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This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. If in doubt, HealthEngine recommends consulting with a registered health practitioner.

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