ANTHONY L. SUCHMAN, M.D.; PAUL F. GRINER, M.D.
The activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT) and prothrombin time (PT) have three principal uses. In screening for coagulation disorders (or increased risk of postoperative hemorrhage), the tests add no information to the preoperative care of patients without clinical findings indicative of increased bleeding risk. Furthermore, the prevalence of asymptomatic congenital coagulopathies is so low that false-positive test results greatly outnumber true-positive results. Thus, clinicians may use clinical assessment to screen and should reserve coagulation tests to investigate patients with abnormal findings. In evaluating abnormal bleeding, these tests are sufficiently sensitive that if both are negative, further investigation of the coagulation system is obviated. If one or both tests are positive, the pattern of results directs further attention to limited segments of the coagulation sequence. In monitoring anticoagulation therapy, the APTT and PT tests appear to contribute to the safety and effectiveness of heparin and warfarin therapies, respectively.
ANTHONY L. SUCHMAN, PAUL F. GRINER. Diagnostic Decision: Diagnostic Uses of the Activated Partial Thromboplastin Time and Prothrombin Time. Ann Intern Med. 1986;104:810–816. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-104-6-810
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1986;104(6):810-816.
Coagulopathies, Hematology/Oncology, Prevention/Screening.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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