MPV Blood Test
What is an MPV blood test?
An MPV blood test measures the average size of your platelets. Platelets (thrombocytes) are blood cells made in the spongy tissue inside of your bone called bone marrow. They help your blood clot. If you’re injured, platelets clump together at the site of the wound. They slow and then stop the blood flow, so you don’t lose too much blood.
MPV stands for mean platelet volume:
- Mean: The mathematical “average” of a group of numbers.
- Platelet: The blood cells that help your blood clot.
- Volume: The amount of space a substance (like a platelet) occupies.
An MPV test calculates the average platelet size in a blood sample to get a clearer picture of the health of these blood cells. Abnormal results may signal a blood disorder or condition that affects your bone marrow.
When is an MPV blood test performed?
You may receive an MPV blood test as part of a complete blood count (CBC). A CBC is a routine blood test your provider may order as part of an annual physical exam. A CBC measures how many red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets you have. It also measures other important features of your blood cells, like their size.
A platelet count, platelet distribution width (PDW) and an MPV blood test are parts of a CBC that provide helpful information about your platelets. A platelet count measures how many platelets you have in your blood. PDW measures how varied the widths of your platelets are. Together, these platelet tests can help your provider investigate multiple conditions, including:
- Thrombocytopenia: Low platelet count.
- Thrombocytosis: High platelet count.
You may receive an MPV blood test outside of routine blood work if you have unexplained bleeding, bruising or other symptoms that may signal problems with how your blood clots.
Who performs an MPV blood test?
A doctor, nurse or phlebotomist will draw a blood sample that they’ll send to a lab for testing. A phlebotomist is a healthcare provider specially trained to draw blood for testing or transfusions.
A lab technician will run tests on the blood and compile results for your healthcare provider.
How do I prepare for an MPV blood test?
Typically, you won’t need to do anything special to prepare for an MPV blood test. An MPV blood test often happens alongside other tests performed on the same blood sample. If this is the case, you may need to fast (no food or drink) for a certain amount of time before your blood draw. For instance, tests that check your blood sugar or cholesterol levels typically require fasting.
Follow your provider’s instructions about fasting before the test. Get clarity on what food and drink aren’t acceptable past a certain cutoff period. Ask if you should stop taking any medications before your blood test.
What should I expect during an MPV blood test?
An MPV test involves a simple blood draw that often takes less than five minutes. You may get the test in a healthcare provider’s office, lab or hospital.
Your provider will:
- Place a strip of cloth or plastic (tourniquet) above the spot on your arm where the needle will go. The tourniquet slows the blood flow, making it easier to access your vein.
- Clean your skin and gently insert a tiny needle into your vein. You may feel a slight sting or prick when the needle’s inserted.
- Collect a sample of blood in a vial.
- Remove the needle.
- Apply gentle pressure to the site with a cotton ball or bandage to stop bleeding.
Afterward, they’ll send the sample to a lab for testing.
What are the risks of an MPV blood test?
An MPV blood test doesn’t pose serious risks. You may have some soreness or slight bruising at the blood draw site, but these symptoms usually go away within a few days.
Results and Follow-Up
What do MPV blood test results mean?
The results of an MPV blood test don’t provide enough information for a diagnosis. Still, your provider can consider these results alongside other blood tests, like your platelet count, to get closer to a diagnosis.
What is a normal MPV blood test result?
MPV blood test results may be normal or abnormal (low or high). Different labs have different cutoff points for normal, low or high results. Generally, a normal MPV blood test is 7 fL to 9 fL (femtoliters) for non-pregnant adults.
What does it mean if your MPV blood test results are high?
A high test result means that your platelets are larger than what’s considered normal. Newly made platelets are larger than older platelets, so a high number may signal that your bone marrow’s making a lot of new platelets. Platelet production may increase if your older (smaller) platelets are being destroyed at an increased rate.
Conditions associated with high MPV results include:
- Cardiovascular disease.
- Crohn’s disease.
- Immune thrombocytopenia.
- Myeloproliferative disease.
- Vitamin B12, D or folate deficiency.
- Macrothrombocytopenia (giant platelet disorders).
What does it mean if your MPV blood test results are low?
Low results mean that your platelets are smaller than what’s considered normal. Low MPV may mean your bone marrow isn’t producing enough new platelets.
Conditions associated with low MPV results include:
- Aplastic anemia.
- Marrow hypoplasia.
- Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome.
- Primary or secondary thrombocytosis.
Low results may indicate that drugs are limiting your bone marrow’s ability to make new platelets. For example, some chemotherapy drugs may have this effect.
Still, a low or high result doesn’t mean you have a disease or disorder. The results provide information that your provider can consider when deciding the next steps for arriving at a diagnosis.
What factors can affect the results of an MPV blood test?
Sometimes, results are artificially high or low because of a factor unrelated to a medical condition. Any of the following can affect your MPV:
- Menstruation (being on your period).
- Regular strenuous exercise.
- Certain medications, like birth control pills.
Speak with your provider if you’re curious if these factors or others may have caused your results to be high or low.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can COVID-19 cause high MPV?
Some studies have demonstrated that MPV is higher in people with COVID-19 compared to people without COVID-19. Still, these findings are new. More research is needed to understand the connection between MPV blood test results and COVID-19 infection or disease severity.
Can stress cause high MPV?
Yes. Studies have shown that physical and mental stress on your body can affect platelet size. Long-term vigorous exercise can lead to high MPV. People with panic disorders may have higher-than-normal MPV.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Don’t be alarmed if you receive a low or high result on the MPV (mean platelet volume) portion of a blood test. MPV is just one factor that your healthcare provider can use to determine the health of your blood cells. Follow their guidance about what follow-up testing or procedures you may need based on your results.
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