What is MPV Blood Test
The human blood consists of various components such as the red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. A routine blood work is ordered by the doctor to check for an overall health condition, especially if the patient is exhibiting signs and symptoms of health problems.
A complete blood count (CBC) is one of the batteries of tests the doctor used to detect any abnormalities in the body. The complete blood count is an umbrella term for a series of blood test. One of the components of CBC is the MPV test. (1, 2, and 3)
Platelets; a component of the blood also called thrombocytes are the blood clotting factor of the body. They play important roles such as:
- Slowing down blood loss
- Promote healing
- Prevent infection (3)
Platelets/thrombocytes are produced in the bone marrow by megakaryocytes (large precursor cells).
The platelets are pieces of megakaryocytes. Ideally, young platelets are big in size and older platelets are small.
Picture 1: A mean platelet volume test is a part of the routine CBC (complete blood count) test.
Photo Source: medicalnewstoday.com
Picture 2: Image of platelets (graphic)
Image Source: hearstapps.com
Picture 3: A comparison image between a normal platelet size and an enlarged platelet.
Image Source: bloodjournal.org
What is an MPV blood test?
Picture 4: A mean platelet volume in a patient with a normal blood and a patient with leukemia.
Image Source: wisegeek.com
An MPV blood test stands for Mean Platelet Volume. It measures the average size of the platelet. What are platelets? They are small blood cells that prevent blood loss through the formation of a blood clot.
If there is an abnormality in platelet, it could indicate a possible health problem such as bleeding disorders. A severe abnormality in the MPV test result is used by the doctor to conduct additional testing such as bone marrow biopsy. (3, 4)
How to perform an MPV test?
A procedure called complete blood count (CBC) is used to detect the mean platelet volume. A phlebotomist wraps a tourniquet around your arm to visualize and engorge the vein.
A thin needle is inserted into the vein to draw ample amount of blood, which will be sent to the laboratory for further examination. (4, 5)
What is the purpose of MPV test?
The procedure is specially requested by the doctor if he/she suspects symptoms of blood disorders.
Signs and symptoms that could lead to possible blood disorders include:
- Prolonged bleeding as a result of injury, minor cut, and nose bleeding
- Abnormal red spots or purplish spots on the skin
- Unexplained bruising (5)
Mean platelet volume in respect with platelet count
- High MPV/low platelet count – It happens when the platelets are destroyed and there are various factors responsible for it such as infection, antibodies, and toxins. A perfect example is idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura; a platelet deficiency secondary to platelet destruction. The exact cause is unknown.
- High MPV/high platelet count – It occurs when the bone marrow produces too many platelets which are common in patients with cancer or genetic mutation.
- High MPV/normal platelet count – It occurs in people with chronic myelogenous leukemia (cancer) and hyperthyroidism. (5, 6, and 7)
MPV blood test high
If the mean platelet volume is high, it means that your platelet is higher than the average, which means that you are producing too many platelets.
However, if your MPV is high and your platelet count is low, it could indicate a possible bone marrow disorder (rapidly producing platelets) leading to the destruction of the older platelets. (4, 6)
A high MPV can be linked with the following:
A high MPV is linked with platelet activation as a result of an encounter of platelets to tumor by-products.
If you have a family history of cancer or exhibiting signs and symptoms of cancer (abnormal changes in the breast, skin abnormalities, an abnormal lump under the skin, change in bowel habit, feeling weak, night sweat, unusual bleeding, and abnormal changes in bowel habit) your doctor might need to perform additional test to confirm the diagnosis.
On the other hand, if you have cancer and your mean platelet volume is high, it means that the cancer cells have already metastasized or spread to other body parts.
It signals a reduced survival rate, especially in patients with lung cancer, colon cancer, ovarian cancer, cancer of the stomach and kidneys, pancreatic cancer, endometrial cancer, and breast cancer.
Other possible conditions caused by a high mean platelet volume are heart-related disease, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, high blood pressure, vitamin D deficiency, diabetes, atrial fibrillation, stroke, and preeclampsia. (6, 7, 8, and 9)
MPV blood test low
An abnormally low mean platelet volume means that y our platelets are smaller than the average. They are old platelets, which means that the bone marrow has trouble producing new platelets. With the interpretation of other blood level parameters, a low mean platelet volume could indicate the following:
- Inflammatory bowel disease such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
- Exposure to some type of drugs that could harm the cells (cytotoxic medication); usually drugs used for chemotherapy.
- Bone marrow hypoplasia ( a disease caused by a decreased production of blood cells)
- Aplastic anemia (2, 6, 9, and 10)
The mean platelet volume test is one of the parameters checked in a routine blood test. The mean platelet volume measures the size of the platelet. It is different from platelet count but is closely related to it.
A high MPV may have a low platelet count and the other way around. However, a high MPV does not always mean that there is an abnormality in the body.
A low MPV does not always suggest abnormalities. Which is why it is important to take a look at other blood parameter readings so as to check whether or not there is indeed an abnormality or not.
More so, there are several factors that could affect the result of mean platelet volume. These include:
- Performing strenuous physical activity
- Living in high altitudes
- Use of certain drugs such as birth control pills
- Menstrual cycle (4)
- Genetic defect (rare case)
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