The partial thromboplastin time test provides a convenient and sensitive screening procedure for deficiencies of thromboplastic factors, especially factors VIII and IX. The test is carried out after preincubating the plasma for 10 minutes with kaolin, and Inosithin is used as a platelet substitute.
The `normal range' of the test has been estimated in terms of the differences encountered between random normal plasmas tested in pairs, because individual patients are usually tested against single control subjects. A patient's partial thromboplastin time should be regarded as abnormal if it is more than six seconds longer than the control time. In the diagnosis of haemophilia, patients' plasmas with concentrations of factor VIII as low as about 20% might be regarded as being within the range of normal, if the selected control subject's factor VIII happened to lie near the lower end of the normal range.
When mild haemophilia is suspected, discrimination may be improved by diluting both the patient's and the control plasmas 1 in 20 in haemophilic plasma. With the test modified in this way the clotting time is prolonged, though the range of differences among normal subjects is unaltered, and plasmas with factor VIII concentrations below about 30%, i.e., in undiluted plasma, would be unlikely to be regarded as normal.
The partial thromboplastin time may be similarly modified as a screening test for factor IX deficiency.
Some clinical examples are reported.
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Normal range and modifications for the diagnosis of haemophilia and Christmas disease
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