Platelet Count test

Know more about Platelet Count test

A platelet count is used to detect the number of platelets in the blood. The test is included in a complete blood count (CBC), a panel of tests often performed as part of a general health examination.

A platelet count is used to detect the number of platelets in the blood. The test is included in a complete blood count (CBC), a panel of tests often performed as part of a general health examination. 

A low platelet count, also called thrombocytopenia, and accompanying signs and symptoms may be caused by a number of conditions and factors. The causes typically fall into one of two general categories:

Disorders in which the bone marrow cannot produce enough platelets

Conditions in which platelets are used up (consumed) or destroyed faster than normal

Examples of conditions causing a low platelet count include:

Idiopathic thrombocytopenia (ITP), also known as immune thrombocytopenic purpura, is the result of antibody production against platelets.

Viral infections such as mononucleosis, hepatitis, HIV or measles

Certain drugs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, some antibiotics (including those containing sulfa), colchicine and indomethacin, H2-blocking agents, hydralazine, isoniazid, quinidine, thiazide diuretics, and tolbutamide, are just a few that have been associated with drug-induced decreased platelet counts.

Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) results in low platelets when a person who is on or received heparin therapy develops an antibody. (For more on this, see the article on HIT Antibody)

Leukemia, lymphoma, or another cancer that has spread (metastasized) to the bone marrow„people with cancers often experience excessive bleeding due to a significantly decreased number of platelets. As the number of cancer cells increases in the bone marrow, normal bone marrow cells are crowded out, resulting in fewer platelet-producing cells.

Aplastic anemia„a condition in which the production of all blood cells is significantly reduced

Long-term bleeding problems (e.g., chronic bleeding from stomach ulcers)

Sepsis, especially that caused by a serious bacterial infection with Gram-negative bacteria


Autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, where the body's immune system produces antibodies that attack its own organs or tissues, causing increased destruction of platelets

Chemotherapy or radiation therapy, which may affect the bone marrow's ability to produce platelets

Platelet consumption may be observed in various diseases and conditions. For example, disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) can result in fewer circulating platelets in the blood.

Exposure to toxic chemicals, such as pesticides, arsenic, or benzene

If the platelet count falls below 20,000 per microliter, spontaneous bleeding may occur and is considered a life-threatening risk. A person with a very low count may be given platelets through a transfusion. See Blood and Blood Components in the Blood Banking article for more details.

A high platelet count may be referred to as thrombocytosis. This is usually the result of an existing condition (also called secondary or reactive thrombocytosis) such as:

Cancer, most commonly lung, gastrointestinal, ovarian, breast or lymphoma

Anemia, in particular iron-deficiency anemia and hemolytic anemia

Inflammatory conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or rheumatoid arthritis

Infectious diseases such as tuberculosis

If an individual has had their spleen removed surgically

Use of birth control pills (oral contraceptives)

Some conditions may cause a temporary  increased platelet count. These may include:

Recovery from significant blood loss such as from trauma or major surgery

After physical activity or exertion

Recovery from excess alcohol consumption and vitamin B12 and folate deficiency

Rarely, thrombocytosis is caused by a bone marrow disorder. An example is thrombocythemia, also called primary or essential thrombocythemia, a rare myeloproliferative disorder in which the bone marrow produces an extremely high number of platelets. Often there are no signs and symptoms and the condition is discovered when testing is done for a health check or for other reasons.

Individuals who have this condition may be at risk of excessive clotting (thrombosis) due to the excess platelets, but they may have bleeding problems, as the platelets may not function normally. This disorder is often associated with a mutation in the gene called JAK2. A test for this mutation should be performed if a health practitioner suspects that an individual has the disorder. More than half of the people with essential thrombocythemia have the JAK2 mutation. People with other myeloproliferative or myelodysplastic disorder, such as chronic myeloid leukemia, polycythemia vera or certain subtypes of myelodysplastic syndrome, may also have markedly higher platelet counts.

The treatment for a low platelet count depends on the cause and severity of your condition. If your condition is mild, your doctor may wish to hold off on treatment and simply monitor you. Your doctor may recommend that you take measures to prevent your condition from worsening. This could include: avoiding contact sports avoiding activities with a high risk of bleeding or bruising limiting alcohol consumption stopping or switching medications that affect platelets, including aspirin and ibuprofen.

If your low platelet count is more severe, you may need medical treatment. This may include: 

blood or platelet transfusions

changing medications that are causing a low platelet count


immune globulin

corticosteroids to block platelet antibodies

drugs that suppress your immune system

a splenectomy, or the surgical removal of the spleen. 

Test Method 1 : The test requires a blood sample, which is drawn through a needle from a vein in your arm. 

Report available : Turn around time is 24 hours. 

A person have the following symptoms should get this done: Unexplained or easy bruising

Prolonged bleeding from a small cut or wound

Numerous nosebleeds

Gastrointestinal bleeding (which can be detected in stool samples)

Heavy menstrual bleeding

Small red spots on the skin called petechiae„may sometimes look like a rash

Small purplish spots on the skin called purpura, caused by bleeding under the skin

HIV, Epstein-Barr virus, and chickenpox, exposure to chemotherapy, radiation, cirrhosis, leukemia, myelodysplasia