The platelet aggregation test checks to see how well platelets, a part of blood, clump together and cause blood clotting.
How the test is performed
A blood sample is needed. For information on how this is done, see: Venipuncture
The laboratory specialist will look at how the platelets spread out in the liquid part of the blood (plasma) and whether they form clumps after a certain chemical or drug is added. When platelets clump together, the blood sample is more clear. A machine measures the changes in cloudiness and prints a record of the results.
How to prepare for the test
Many medications may affect test results. Tell your health care provider about any medications (including over-the-counter drugs) you have taken within 2 weeks before the test.
There is very little risk involved with having your blood taken. Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Taking blood from some people may be more difficult than from others.
Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:
Fainting or feeling light-headed
Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)
Note: This test is often performed because the patient has a bleeding problem. Bleeding may be more of a risk for this person than for people without bleeding problems.
McMillan R. Hemorrhagic disorders: Abnormalities of platelet and vascular function. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 179.
Miller JL, Rao AK. Blood platelets and von Willebrand disease. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis by Laboratory Methods. 21st ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2006:chap 39.
Schafer A. Hemorrhagic disorders: Approach to the patient with bleeding and thrombosis. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 178.
Schmaier AH. Laboratory evaluation of hemostatic and thrombotic disorders. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ Jr., Shattil SJ, et al, eds. Hoffman Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2008:chap 122.
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.