Are platelet volume indices of clinical use? A multidisciplinary review

Ann Med. 2012 Dec;44(8):805-16. doi: 10.3109/07853890.2011.653391. Epub 2012 Mar 13.


Platelet size correlates with platelet activity and can be assessed by platelet volume indices (PVI). The PVI, mean platelet volume (MPV), is universally available with routine blood counts by automated hemograms and therefore is an attractive index to study in clinical scenarios. PVI are useful in assessing the etiology of thrombocytopenia. In addition, a normal platelet distribution width in the setting of thrombocytosis is highly suggestive of a reactive etiology. Higher MPV is also associated with the presence of cardiovascular risk factors, chest pain due to acute coronary syndrome, and adverse outcome after acute coronary syndrome. Results from studies evaluating MPV in patients with peripheral artery disease, unprovoked deep vein thrombosis, and pulmonary embolism further advocate a potential role for MPV in identifying patients at high risk of thrombosis. Nevertheless, most of these data come from retrospective studies some of which have small study populations and confounding factors influencing platelet volume. Moreover, the cut-off values derived from these retrospective studies have not been validated prospectively. Despite the potential for clinical utility evident from these studies, the above-mentioned flaws together with technical problems in measuring MPV currently limit its clinical usefulness. Our review provides a perspective on PVI's potential clinical use.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Platelets / pathology*
  • Blood Platelets / physiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Platelet Aggregation
  • Platelet Count
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / blood
  • Thrombocytopenia / blood*
  • Thrombocytosis / blood*