The MPV Blood Test Explained

The MPV blood test measures the average size of your platelets.

If you have a high MPV, then it means you’ve got more platelets in your blood compared to the average person.

This puts you at an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Likewise, a low MPV means that you’ve got a lower-than-average number of platelets in your blood.

The latter puts you at risk for excess bleeding. Let’s learn more about this blood test below.

What Are Platelets?

what are plateletsBefore talking about the MPV blood test, let’s learn about platelets. This will give you a more comprehensive understanding about what’s going on.

Platelets are molecules that play a role in stopping bleeding. Specifically, they help form a clot whenever a blood vessel as ruptured.

Without enough platelets in your blood, you’re more prone to bleeding.

Likewise, having too many platelets can put you at risk for blood clots when you don’t want them.

Such a clot can potentially travel to the heart, brain, or lungs and cause death.

Platelets migrate to the damaged blood vessel and, through a series of chemical reactions, begin the repair process.

Bottom Line: Platelets are molecules that circulate freely in the blood and that play a role in forming a clot after a vessel tear.

Understanding the MPV Blood Test

mpv blood test

MPV stands for mean platelet volume. The MPV blood test is a common diagnostic procedure used in hospitals around the world.

The test measures the total number of platelets in the blood. The process is done using a series of specialized lab equipment.

Like most other blood tests, the blood sample is taken directly from the vein.

It’s often performed in conjunction with a CBC, or complete blood count. Once the sample has been taken, it’s sent off to a lab where it can be read.

Bottom Line: The MPV blood test measures the total # of platelets in the blood. It’s a very common diagnostic procedure.

Values and Applications

mpv blood test resultsThe mean platelet volume range should be 7.2-11.7 fL. If your values all outside of this range, then it requires further investigation.

Patients are said to have macro-thrombocytes when their values are above average.

Likewise, they’re said to have micro-thrombocytes when their values are below average.

Below, we’ll talk more about what might be causing each condition.

Bottom Line: The average platelet volume range is 7.2-11.7 fL. Anything above or below this is considered abnormal.  

Higher-Than-Average Mean Platelet Volume

If your MPV blood test readings are higher than average, then it can result in something called idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura.

This manifests itself as sporadic bruising that occurs all around the body.

Additionally, it could mean that you have something called Bernard-Soulier syndrome, which is also commonly referred to as “giant platelet syndrome”.

Bottom Line: A low value on your MPV blood test could signify Bernard-Soulier syndrome or idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura.

Lower-Than-Average Mean Platelet Volume

If you have a lower-than-average mean platelet volume, then it should also be a reason to investigate. One possibility is aplastic anemia.

This happens whenever your bone marrow stops producing a lot of blood cells.

A clinical disorder known as Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome might also be the cause.

However, this one is quite rare so it’s less likely that you have it. The final possibility is platelet storage pool deficiency, which is also quite rare.

Bottom Line: 3 possibilities for a low MPV blood test value is platelet storage pool deficiency, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, and aplastic anemia.

Importance of an MPV Blood Test

This blood test is quite popular around the world. The reason is because it gives a lot of information about a person’s stroke and ischemic bowel disease risk.

In people who’ve suffered an acute stroke, it’s one of the most common blood tests used to predict the person’s outcome.

For example, a person with a mean platelet volume of greater than 9.4 fL has a poorer prognosis after a stroke.

Bottom Line: The MPV blood test can be used to predict a person’s outcome after they’ve suffered an acute stroke.

Additional Information About Platelets

picture of plateletsAlong with your red blood cells (RBCs), platelets are produced in the bone marrow. The bone marrow is the spongy part in the center of your bones.

The official term for a platelet is thrombocyte. Therefore, doctors will refer to a clot as a thrombus.

The average lifespan of a circulating thrombocyte is about 10 days (in RBCs it’s 120 days).

Per microliter of blood, you should have about 150,000 to 300,000 platelets per microliter.

Anything above or below this as determined by an MPV blood test requires a closer look. As crazy as it sounds, some people have numbers as high as 1 million!

Bottom Line: A normal thrombocyte (platelet) range is 150,000-300,000 per microliter of blood. Platelets are made in the bone marrow.
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