What is the prothrombin time test?
The prothrombin time, or PT, test measures the time it takes your blood to form a clot. This test is also often called protime.
The results of the prothrombin time test may vary from lab to lab, so healthcare providers use a ratio called the INR (international normalized ratio) to be able to account for the differences.
Why is this test done?
The PT/INR is usually done to measure the effect of blood-thinning medicines (anticoagulants), such as Warfarin (Coumadin).
If you have a medical condition such as atrial fibrillation or deep vein thrombosis, or have had a heart valve replaced, your blood is more likely to form clots. Clots can block blood vessels and possibly cause a heart attack or stroke. Your healthcare provider may prescribe a blood thinner to help prevent clots. It’s very important to measure the effect of a blood thinner with this test. The medicine should keep the blood just thin enough to prevent clots. If the blood is too thin, you may bleed too easily.
The prothrombin time test may also be done if you have abnormal bleeding or clotting.
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