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Stroke Blood Tests - CBC & Coagulation

CBC (Complete Blood Count)

This test measures the overall health of your blood, including the quality and number of red blood cells, white blood cells, hemoglobin (the oxygen carrier), platelets, and other factors. A CBC test can diagnose infection, anemia, and other imbalances in the bloodstream; an abnormal platelet count indicates that your stroke may have been caused by excessive bleeding (if your count is too low) or clotting (if it is too high).

Coagulation Tests

Coagulation tests measure how quickly your blood clots. If your blood clots too quickly, your stroke may have been caused by a blood clot. If your blood clots too slowly, your stroke may have been caused by bleeding. This test can also be used to screen for blood clotting problems that are putting you at risk for a stroke in the future. See our article on blood clotting problems for more.

Coagulation tests also help doctors to determine and adjust the doses of blood-thinning drugs used to treat blocked-vessel (ischemic) stroke. See our section on blood thinners and aspirin in the stroke treatment section for more. Coagulation tests produce several different measures of your blood’s clotting ability; common ones include:

  • Prothrombin Time (PT)
  • Partial Thromboplastin Time (PTT) and Activated Partial Thromboplastin Time (APTT)
  • International Normalized Ratio (INR)


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