Mean platelet volume, or MPV, refers to the medical test reading of the size of the platelets in a blood sample.
The platelets are components of our blood responsible for stopping any bleeding by clumping and clotting blood vessel injuries.
The volume is determined by a machine and a Complete Blood Profile, known as a CBC, is a blood test that checks for low MPV counts.
This reading determines if a patient’s body is producing larger than average platelets, indicative of platelet destruction or bone marrow diseases. We will examine what is a normal and low MPV.
What is Normal MPV Range?
The volume of platelets is measured in femtoliters, or fL. One fL is equal to the metric unit of one quadrillionth of a liter. As it is hard to imagine that minute of an amount, the normal MPV should range from 7.5 fL to 11.5 fL. With that, patients with a MPV between 9.7 fL and 12.8 fL are still deemed to be in a good range.
These number ranges are determined by a number of factors, one being the psychological state of the patient. Previous studies have shown a link between major depression and increased platelet activity.
The volume levels can also change due to diseases and hormonal changes. For instance, a post-partum MVP reading will register higher than normal.
Low MPV: What Does It Mean?
A low MPV result refers to a blood platelet count lower than normal. It can be attributed to various disorders, diseases, injuries, drug reactions, and even natural hormone changes in the body. A low MPV count does increase the risk for serious blood loss if you are injured.
Low readings are seen in the early days of a woman’s menstrual cycle and in newborns. Even during the collection of blood samples, low MPV results have been discovered as the blood had clotted before the sample was tested.
There have not been conclusive tests to pinpoint one cause of low MPV readings. The following conditions have been known to result in abnormally low levels of MPV:
- Viral infections, with AIDS being the most common condition
- MPV lowering drugs that attack cells such as heparin
- An over-active spleen
- Disorders such as aplastic anemia, which interrupts the platelet production, and thrombocytopenia in particular is a deficiency of platelets in the blood and causes excessive bleeding
- Autoimmune disorders such as leukemia and rheumatoid arthritis
- Genetic conditions such as lupus
- Hemolytic disorders such as anemia
There are several symptoms people with low MPV readings exhibit before going to the doctor for a test.
Some signs include bleeding from the nose or mouth, extremely long menstrual cycles, anal bleeding, and inability to stop the bleeding from a small cut or wound.
Low MPV counts are not easily treated as there is usually an underlying cause behind it. Depending on the readings, your doctor may decide not to prescribe a treatment.
If your MPV is low due to a drug for an autoimmune disorder, your doctor may add a drug to suppress the immune system. If low readings are due to a prescribed drug, your doctor may switch you to another one.
Patients with severely low MPV readings may receive platelet transfusions to avoid excessive bleeding.
It is imperative to be aware of your MPV readings as lower than normal counts can lead to dangerous conditions. If you are being treated for a specific disorder that directly affects your platelets, your doctor will monitor the levels. Discuss any concerns you may have about excessive bleeding and your prescribed medications with a medical professional.
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