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Bleeding Time

What is it?

A bleeding time is a test to see if platelets are working as they should. Platelets are little particles found in the blood that are needed to help blood clot. Clotting helps stop bleeding such as when you get cut. There are many parts involved in blood clotting and a bleeding time is one of the tests used for this.

Why do I need it?

If you bruise easily or bleed longer than you should, your caregiver may want to check your bleeding time. This test often is done before surgery to make sure you do not bleed too much during or after surgery.

How do I get ready for the test?

Your caregiver will tell you when to have your blood test done. Do not take aspirin for at least a week before the test. Your caregiver will tell you if you should not take other medicines until after your blood is taken. The blood test may be done before or after eating.

How is the test done?

A blood pressure cuff is put on your upper arm and inflated. A place on the underside of your forearm where there are no veins is wiped clean with alcohol. A device which makes a cut of a specific size and depth is used to make a small cut on the skin. A stopwatch is started. Taking care not to touch the cut, the blood is "wicked" away. When the bleeding stops, the stopwatch is stopped. The bleeding time is the time from the start of the bleeding to when the bleeding stops. This test is only a little uncomfortable.

What do I do after the test?

Apply pressure or a pressure bandage to the puncture site. When the bleeding has stopped, the pressure or bandage may be removed. Call your caregiver to get the results of your test. Your caregiver will explain what your test results mean for you. Follow the instructions of your caregiver.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your lab tests. You can then discuss the results with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care may be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.