Bleeding time test

A bleeding time test measures how long it takes blood to clot. For this test, a health professional puts a blood pressure cuff on your upper arm and inflates it slightly. The cuff remains inflated throughout the test. Then your forearm is cleaned and one or two small incisions [about 1 mm (0.04 in.) deep] are made. Every 30 seconds, blood is gently blotted away until the bleeding stops.

The health professional will time how long it takes for the bleeding to stop in each incision (cut). This measurement is the bleeding time. If two cuts are made, your bleeding time is the average time for both areas to stop bleeding. The test generally takes less than 10 minutes. If bleeding lasts longer than 10 minutes, the test is usually stopped.

If the cuts take too long to clot, you may have a bleeding disorder.

This test is not used very often.

Last Updated: November 24, 2008

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