The utility of flow cytometric platelet forward scatter as an alternative to mean platelet volume

Platelets. 2022 Nov 17;33(8):1139-1145. doi: 10.1080/09537104.2022.2052035. Epub 2022 Mar 22.


The use of mean platelet diameter (MPD) to classify inherited thrombocytopenia (IT) has been demonstrated in several studies. Alternatively, the mean platelet volume (MPV) may be used, but in macrothrombocytopenia this may not be available. We hypothesized that platelet forward scatter (FSC) measurements using flow cytometry may be used for the size-based classification of IT. The study aimed to assess the ability of platelet FSC to measure platelet size and whether it could be used as an alternative to the MPD or MPV.Blood samples were obtained from individuals undergoing investigation for inherited platelet function disorders (IPFD, n = 40) or platelet number disorders (IPND, n = 46). A hematology analyzer was used to obtain MPV and platelet counts, flow cytometry to measure platelet FSC and ImageJ software to measure MPD from stained blood smears. The International Society of Thrombosis and Hemostasis (ISTH) Bleeding Assessment Tool (BAT) was used to calculate bleeding scores.Twenty-nine(63%) of IPND patients had an MPV that could not be reported. A significant correlation to platelet FSC was found to the MPD (p < .0001) and MPV (p < .0001) and an inverse correlation with platelet count (p < .0001). No significant correlation was found between FSC and bleeding history. In conclusion, platelet FSC is an alternative to MPV and may be used in macrothrombocytopenia where the MPV is not recorded.

Keywords: Flow cytometry; forward scatter; inherited platelet function disorder; inherited platelet number disorder; mean platelet diameter; platelets.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Platelet Disorders*
  • Blood Platelets
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Hemorrhage
  • Humans
  • Mean Platelet Volume
  • Platelet Count
  • Thrombocytopenia* / diagnosis