Context: Workup for prolonged prothrombin time (PT) and activated partial thromboplastin time (PTT) is a frequent referral to a Hematology and Coagulation Laboratory. Although the workup should be performed in a timely and cost-effective manner, the complete laboratory assessment of the coagulation state has not been standardized.
Objective: To determine which clinical and laboratory data are most predictive of a coagulopathy and to formulate the most efficient strategy to reach a diagnosis in patients referred for abnormal coagulation profiles.
Design: Retrospective case review. Medical records of 251 patients referred for prolonged PT and/or PTT to our Hematology Service between June 1995 and December 2002 were reviewed.
Results: The study included 135 males and 116 females with a mean age of 7.0 years. A personal history of bleeding was reported in 137 patients, and a family history of bleeding was reported in 116 patients. Fifty-one patients (20%) had a coagulopathy (ie, a bleeding risk). Factors predictive of a bleeding risk were a positive family history of bleeding (P < .001) and a positive personal history of bleeding (P = .001). Of 170 patients with findings of normal PT and PTT values on repeat testing, 14 were subsequently diagnosed with a coagulopathy. Two of these patients reported no positive personal or family history of bleeding.
Conclusions: Coagulopathy was identified in 20% of the children referred for abnormal PT and/or PTT. In the absence of a personal or family history of bleeding, a normal PT and/or PTT on repeat testing has a negative predictive value of more than 95%.