Question

Lab Tests

What do the results of a prothrombin time and INR test mean?

A Answers (1)

  • AHealthwise answered

    Prothrombin time (PT) is a blood test that measures how long it takes blood to clot.

    Normal

    The normal values listed here -- called a reference range -- are just a guide. These ranges vary from lab to lab, and your lab may have a different range for what’s normal. Your lab report should contain the range your lab uses. Also, your doctor will evaluate your results based on your health and other factors. This means that a value that falls outside the normal values listed here may still be normal for you or your lab.

    A method of standardizing prothrombin time results, called the international normalized ratio (INR) system, has been developed so the results among labs using different test methods can be understood in the same way. Using the INR system, treatment with blood-thinning medicine (anticoagulant therapy) will be the same. In some labs, only the INR is reported and the PT is not reported.

    Prothrombin time (PT) and international normalized ratio (INR)
    • Prothrombin time (PT): 11-13 seconds
    • International normalized ratio (INR): 0.8-1.1

      The warfarin (Coumadin) dose is changed so that the prothrombin time is longer than normal (by about 1.5 to 2.5 times the normal value or INR values 2 to 3). Prothrombin times are also kept at longer times for people with artificial heart valves, because these valves have a high chance of causing clots to form.

      Abnormal values:
      • A longer-than-normal PT can mean a lack of or low level of one or more blood clotting factors (factors I, II, V, VII or X). It can also mean a lack of vitamin K; liver disease, such as cirrhosis ; or that a liver injury has occurred. A longer-than-normal PT can also mean that you have disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), a life-threatening condition in which your body uses up its clotting factors so quickly that the blood cannot clot and bleeding does not stop.
      • A longer-than-normal PT can be caused by treatment with blood-thinning medicines, such as warfarin (Coumadin) or, in rare cases, heparin.

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