Pseudothrombocytopenia (PTCP) is when blood test results incorrectly suggest a low platelet count. This can show that a person has thrombocytopenia when they do not.
The anti-clotting agents that lab technicians use during testing can affect results and cause PTCP.
This article takes an in-depth look at PTCP, outlining the causes and risk factors. It also covers the clinical implications of PTCP and how to know when it shows up in test results.
PTCP occurs when blood test results seemingly show that a person has thrombocytopenia when they do not.
According to the
Platelets are the smallest blood cells in the body. They
Unlike genuine thrombocytopenia, PTCP does not cause symptoms as it is not a real condition.
Thrombocytopenia can cause the following:
- long lasting bleeding, which may begin from minor injuries
- petechiae, small, flat spots under the skin
- purpura, bleeding in the skin that causes red, purple, or brownish-yellow spots
- bleeding gums
- bloody urine or stool
- heavy menstrual bleeding
Anyone with symptoms of thrombocytopenia should speak with a doctor.
PTCP occurs when platelets clump together. Some medical tests detect an absence of free-floating platelets in the blood. Clumping can make it seem like the blood has too few platelets.
According to a
EDTA has many medical uses, including as an anticoagulant.
EDTA can prevent blood clotting in blood samples, allowing doctors to more accurately determine the concentrations of various blood cells.
Some things make it
- having an autoimmune condition
- use of low molecular weight heparin, a medication that can prevent thromboembolism
- being a male under the age of 50 years
Other possible risk factors may include:
There is no treatment for PTCP as it is not a medical condition.
When preparing blood samples for laboratory testing, healthcare professionals
One way to spot PTCP is to use different blood testing methods. These may ignore or detect platelet clumping. If a lab detects platelet clumping in the blood after applying an anticoagulant, they may request a new sample. They can then prepare this with a different anticoagulant.
This may trigger requests for unnecessary testing. Additional tests may be time-consuming, stressful, and potentially harmful.
PTCP may also lead to unnecessary treatments, such as platelet transfusions or the use of the steroid dexamethasone.
PTCP is when blood test results suggest a false low platelet count. PTCP occurs when platelets in a blood sample clump together.
PTCP often arises from exposure to EDTA, an anticoagulant labs use to prepare blood samples for testing. However, in a small number of people, EDTA can cause clumping. This is likelier to occur in pregnant people and individuals with autoimmune conditions.
PTCP can prompt doctors to recommend unnecessary medical testing and treatment. However, there are methods for ruling out PTCP.