Platelet associated antibodies

Definition
This is a test to identify the presence of abnormal antiplatelet antibodies in the blood.

How the test is performed

Blood is drawn from a vein, usually inside the elbow or on the back of the hand. The area is cleaned with antiseptic, and an elastic band is placed around the upper arm. This causes the vein to fill with blood.

A needle is inserted into the vein, and the blood is collected in an air-tight vial or a syringe. During the procedure, the band is removed to restore circulation. Once the blood has been collected, the needle is removed, and the puncture site is covered to stop any bleeding.

In infants and young children.
The area is cleansed with antiseptic and punctured with a sharp needle or a lancet. The blood may be collected in a pipette (small glass tube), on a slide, onto a test strip, or into a small container. Cotton or a bandage may be applied to the puncture site if there is any continued bleeding.

How to prepare for the test
No special preparation is necessary for adults.

For infants and children.
The preparation you can provide for this procedure depends on your child’s age, previous experiences, and level of trust. For specific information on how you can prepare your child, see the following topics:

How the test will feel
When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain, while others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.

Why the test is performed
This test may be ordered when the person has a low platelet count (thrombocytopenia). It is used to detect antibodies against platelets.

Normal Values

A negative test is normal.

What abnormal results mean


Antiplatelet antibodies are present.

Antiplatelet antibodies are antibodies that attach to and destroy platelets. This causes a low platelet count (thrombocytopenia), which can lead to excessive bleeding.

Antiplatelet antibodies may appear in the blood for unknown reasons (idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura) or as a side-effect of certain drugs, such as heparin. These drugs can sometimes cause the immune system to identify its own platelets as abnormal or foreign, and attack them.

Antiplatelet antibodies are classified as either IgM or IgG.

What the risks are

     
  • Excessive bleeding  
  • Fainting or feeling light-headed  
  • Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)  
  • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)  
  • Multiple punctures to locate veins

Special considerations

Current tests cannot reliably confirm if a low platelet count (thrombocytopenia) is caused by immune problems. Therefore, your doctor will ultimately make a diagnosis based on symptoms.

Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another, and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 3, 2012
by Levon Ter-Markosyan, D.M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.