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Partial Thromboplastin Time (PTT, APTT)

The partial thromboplastin time (PTT; also known as activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT)) is a screening test that helps evaluate a person’s ability to appropriately form blood clots. It measures the number of seconds it takes for a clot to form in a sample of blood after substances (reagents) are added. The PTT assesses the amount and the function of certain proteins in the blood called coagulation or clotting factors that are an important part of blood clot formation.

A prolonged PTT may be due to:

  • Underlying conditions that cause low levels of clotting factors, such as:

    • Liver disease—most coagulation factors are produced by the liver, thus liver disease may cause prolonged PT and PTT. However, PT is more likely to be prolonged than PTT.
    • Vitamin K deficiency—vitamin K is essential for the formation of several clotting factors. Vitamin K deficiencies are rare but can be caused by an extremely poor diet, malabsorption disorders, or prolonged use of certain antibiotics, for example. PT is more likely to be prolonged than is PPT.
  • Less common inherited clotting factor deficiencies:

    • Von Willebrand disease (vWD) is the most common inherited bleeding disorder and it affects platelet function due to decreased von Willebrand factor. PTT is normal in most cases of vWD but can be prolonged in severe
    • Hemophilia A and hemophilia B (Christmas disease) are two other inherited bleeding disorders resulting from a decrease in factors VIII and IX,
    • Deficiencies of other coagulation factors, like factors XII and Deficiency in XI can cause abnormal bleeding, but deficiency of XII is not associated with bleeding risk in the body.
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