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Bleeding Time

The bleeding time is a measure of how quickly blood clots, using platelets, coagulation factors, and small vessel vasospasm.

A small (1–2 mm deep) stab wound is made in the earlobe (Duke technique) or the forearm (Ivy technique). The wound is blotted every 30 seconds with gauze. When all bleeding has stopped, the test is completed. The bleeding time is the time from the stab wound to the time that no further bleeding is detectable.

Prolongation of bleeding time is seen in:

  • Thrombocytopenia
  • Platelet malfunction (aspirin)
  • Abnormal clotting factors
  • Hypofibrinogenemia 
  • DIC

Normal Values*

Earlobe (Duke) < 8 minutes

Forearm (Ivy)

<9.5 minutes

*These are general values taken from a variety of sources. The actual normal values may vary from lab to lab and from one type of testing protocol to another.