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Alternative namesThis is a blood test that measures the level of fibrinopeptide a, which is a substance released as part of the clotting process. An elevated level may indicate an abnormal clotting process, such as disseminated intravascular coagulation ( DIC ).
How the test is performed
Blood is drawn from a vein, usually on the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. The puncture site is cleaned with antiseptic, and an elastic band is placed around the upper arm to apply pressure and restrict blood flow through the vein. This causes veins below the band to fill with blood.
A needle is inserted into the vein, and the blood is collected in an air-tight vial or a syringe. During the procedure, the tourniquet is removed to restore circulation. Once the blood has been collected, the needle is removed, and the puncture site is covered to stop any bleeding.
How to prepare for the testNo special preparation is necessary.
For infants and children:
The preparation you can provide for this test depends on your child's age and previous experiences. For specific information regarding how you can prepare your child, see the following topics:
How the test will feelWhen the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain, while others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.
Why the test is performedMeasurement of fibrinopeptide a may help diagnose severe, abnormal clotting processes, such as disseminated intravascular clotting, that occur without generalized symptoms.
Certain types of leukemia are associated with DIC, and this test can help in the early detection of this severe complication.
The level of fibrinopeptide a should be in the range of 0.6 to 1.9 mg/ml.
What abnormal results meanIncreased fibrinopeptide a levels may indicate:
What the risks areRisks associated with having blood drawn are slight:
Special considerationsVeins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.
Update Date: 9/3/2003Michael C. Milone, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT