MPV is otherwise known as the “Mean Platelet Volume”. Of course, you may be wondering why this particular count has any importance to your daily health, and the answer is quite simple.
Now, let’s quickly go over what platelets do in your body and how they can impact your well-being. Platelets are an integral part of your body’s defense system and body repair system.
Platelets circle around the bloodstream, and aggregate and clump whenever there is a problem in your epithelial tissues. Because the epithelial tissues line your vital organs and also function in your skin, platelets are essential whenever your body encounters damage in these tissues.
Therefore, every time you have a routine blood exam, a doctor takes your platelet count. The number of platelets in your blood can quickly determine whether or not you have a serious issue.
Patients who have bone marrow cancers (typically leukemia) will exhibit extremely low platelet counts as a problem with the formation of the platelets in their bone marrow.
However, that is not the point of the mean platelet volume – its purpose is similar, but the actual test is somewhat different.
MPV Test Results
MPV is a count of how large your platelets actually are. The purpose of measuring the size of the platelets is also to determine whether or not there is an issue with the platelet production in the bone marrow.
The MPV is an accurate test that can easily help doctors determine what’s wrong with your platelets. If your MPV shows up too low, it may be an early indicator of bone marrow cancers like leukemia.
Before interpreting blood tests yourself please discuss your results with your physician before jumping to conclusions — as usual, doctor knows best.
Are there signs or symptoms of high or low platelet levels that I should pay attention to?
Bruising for no apparent reason, bleeding from the nose, mouth, or rectum without obvious injury, excessive or prolonged menstrual periods, or the inability to stop a small wound from bleeding within a reasonable period of time may indicate a platelet deficiency.
My platelet count is low. How can I increase it?
Generally, there are no lifestyle changes that you can make that would increase your platelet count. Treatment for a low platelet count usually involves addressing the underlying condition that is causing it.
If your condition is mild and your platelet count is only slightly low, you may not require any treatment. If it is caused by a drug, your healthcare provider may switch you to a different one.
If it is due to an autoimmune disorder, your practitioner may prescribe a drug that helps to suppress the immune system.
People with serious conditions and/or platelet counts that are significantly decreased may be at risk of excessive bleeding, so they may be transfused with platelets. (For more on this, see Blood Banking: Blood and Blood Components.)
My report includes mean platelet volume (MPV) and platelet distribution width (PDW). What are they?
Mean platelet volume (MPV) and platelet distribution width (PDW) are calculations performed by automated blood analyzers.
MPV reflects the average size of platelets present in a person’s sample of blood while PDW reflects how uniform the platelets are in size.
These calculations can give the doctor additional information about platelets and/or about the cause of a high or low platelet count.
Larger platelets are usually relatively young and more recently released from the bone marrow, while smaller platelets may be older and have been in circulation for a few days.
A high number of large platelets (high MPV) in a person with a low platelet count suggests the bone marrow is producing platelets and releasing them into circulation rapidly.
Conversely, the MPV may be low in people with low platelet counts due to a disorder affecting production by the bone marrow.
A normal PDW indicates platelets that are mostly the same size, while a high PDW means that platelet size varies greatly, a clue that there may be a disorder affecting platelets.
Often, abnormal results will prompt additional testing.
Under certain conditions, platelets may clump together and falsely appear to be low in number and/or large in size so a blood smear may be performed to examine platelets directly using a microscope.
My report mentions “giant platelets.” What are they?
“Giant platelet” is a term used to describe platelets that are abnormally large, i.e., as large as a normal red blood cell.
These may be seen in certain disorders such as immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) or in rare inherited disorders such as Bernard-Soulier disease.
However, as mentioned in the previous question, a direct examination with a blood smear may be necessary to determine whether the platelets are truly giant or platelets have clumped together during testing.
If platelets are clumping, repeat testing may be performed using a different collection tube containing a different anticoagulant that prevents or minimizes platelet clumping.
If my platelet count is abnormal, what follow-up tests might my doctor order?
If the cause of the abnormal result is not apparent and cannot be determined from your medical history and physical examination, your healthcare provider may choose to order additional tests.
Depending on the suspected cause and results from a CBC and blood smear, various follow-up tests may be performed. A few examples include:
- Tests for inflammatory conditions such as CRP, ESR or tests for autoantibodies that target platelets
- Tests for infectious diseases including bacteria and viruses
- Tests for bleeding disorders such as PT, PTT, fibrinogen
- Tests for kidney failure
- Iron studies or vitamin B12 and folate levels
- Tests for liver disease
In unexplained, serious cases, a bone marrow biopsy