Platelet SizeThe size of a platelet also reflects how old the platelet is. Generally, 'young' platelets that have just entered the bloodstream are found to be heavy and large. Whereas, old platelets that have been circulating in the bloodstream for the past few days are light and small.
MPV, acronym for mean platelet volume, is a blood test that evaluates the average platelet size. This parameter can be used to assess platelet function. Platelets, as we know, are blood cells that help in clotting to stop bleeding. If there are any problems with platelet production, they can be easily detected by examining the results of MPV blood test. The test can also help in medical diagnosis and evaluate whether the person is suffering from any serious illness. As platelets are produced in the bone marrow, MPV results may also help ascertain the function of bone marrow.
Interpretation of MPV Blood Test
Low MPV Values
Low MPV suggests that platelets are being inadequately produced. To put it simply, there are issues with platelet production, indicating low platelet count. Medical conditions like thrombocytopenia that prevent the bone marrow from making platelets adequately, can also cause low MPV. People with low MPV tend to bleed very easily in the event of physical injury due to clotting problems.
Lower MPV reading have also been associated with usage of cytotoxic drugs that are prescribed for the treatment of cancer. Medication, like heparin (anticoagulant), that interfere with clotting action of the blood and prevent formation of blood clots can also decrease platelet count and cause low MPV.
Hemolytic disorders such as hemolytic anemia that causes premature destruction of red blood cells (RBCs), can also lower MPV values.
Lower than normal MPV values may be a warning sign of bone marrow disorders, such as leukemia, and even a viral infection, particularly of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). People diagnosed with chronic renal failure and aplastic anemia, that is marked by bone marrow failure, may also have inappropriately low MPV.
Normal MPV Values
Healthy values of MPV will vary from 7.5-11.5 fL. Here fL stands for femtoliter, which is equivalent to one quadrillionth of a liter. Studies indicate that the normal range of average platelet size may vary slightly in individuals living across different places in the world. For instance, it is said that people of Mediterranean origin tend to have more than the average platelet size.
High MPV Values
Elevated MPV values correspond to larger platelet size. This essentially means that large platelets may face issues, while circulating through the blood vessels. The large platelets may get stuck and even block the blood circulation. This may increase the risk of thrombosis, heart attack or stroke. However, the risk of impaired blood flow has been associated with very high MPV values. For minimally elevated MPV reading, one should not be concerned about a stroke or heart attack.
Obesity, chronic conditions, like diabetes, and unhealthy habits, like smoking, can also lead to high MPV values. High MPV has also been correlated with polycythemia vera―a diseases in which the bone marrow makes excessively high amount of blood cells including platelets.
High MPV values but low platelet count may suggest that the bone marrow is making platelets and passing them into the bloodstream at a faster rate. The average platelet size tends to be larger when there is increased production of platelets; hence, the blood test detects higher MPV values.
Usually, platelets lasts for about 7 to 10 days, and eventually new platelets take the place of old ones. However, in certain medical conditions, such as immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), Bernard-Soulier syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, myeloproliferative diseases, pre-eclampsia, and sepsis, the platelets are destroyed and eventually replaced quickly, which may also lead to high MPV.
A point to note here is that the normal platelet count does not always mean that there will no disturbances in MPV values. Blood test results may indicate below or higher than normal MPV values, despite having healthy platelet count. So, apart from complete blood count (CBC), the person may be advised to undergo MPV blood test for accurate diagnosis.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.