Thromobcytes - what they are and what they do

LegendStarred Page By Legend, 5th Nov 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Diet & Nutrition

Thrombocytes (or platelets) are a vital part of our natural defense against bleeding. This article gives some information on thrombocytes, their function and medical situations related to thrombocytes.

What are thrombocytes?

Platelets, or thrombocytes, are tiny cells in our blood which take part in the clotting process. When seen on ordinary blood smears, the platelet are little red dots compared to the far larger red blood cells. Platelets, first described by Schultze in the 19th century, take part in the first clot formation - the white clot. Later, the platelets release factors which contribute to further clot development as well as clot resolution. A person has approximately 10^12 platelets in his body with about a tenth of them being replaced daily. Many medications interact with platelets in various ways. The original, if rarely used lab test for platelet function is the infamous "bleeding time" test. Nowadays more advanced and accurate techniques are available although not in routine use.


The normal value of thrombocytes in a blood test is usually up to 400,000 for every cubic mm of blood. Too many thrombocytes (thrombocytosis) can cause problems. Usually this increases the risk for the formation of blood clots (thombi) which can obstruct blood flow to various organs and parts of the body. Conversely, thrombocytosis with dysfunctioning platelets (as in essential thrombocytosis) can actually cause excessive bleeding. Platelet counts increase transiently in instances of stress, post surgery and in the early phases of acute bleeding.


A significant reduction in platelets is known as thrombocytopenia. Many medical conditions can be associated with thrombocytopenia and the presence of thrombocytopenia should prompt medical evaluation and a work-up for the cause of thrombocytopenia. Most causes of thrombocytopenia are associated with more bleeding and increased platelet dysfunction. Although there are instances where thrombocytopenia is actually associated with increased tendency to thrombosis as in heparin induced thrombocytopenia (also known as HIT or HITT - heparin induced thrombocytopenia with thrombosis)


Bleeding, Clot, Clotting, Platelet, Platelets, Thrombocyte, Thrombocytes

Meet the author

author avatar Legend
I am a practicing physician. I have spent 5 years in Yeshiva studying religion. I published a card game on wikinut and I am in a process of getting divorced

Share this page

moderator Mark Gordon Brown moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know


author avatar Chads
22nd Dec 2013 (#)

Very informative, I have thrombocytosis...

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Can't login?