+31 40 8080 230


Request a quote

Platelet count in whole blood

Platelet count in whole blood

Platelets are pieces of very large cells in the bone marrow called megakaryocytes. They help form blood clots to slow or stop bleeding and to aid in the healing of wounds. Having a platelet count in whole blood that is too high or too low , or having platelets that don’t work as they should can cause problems.

A platelet count below the usual range (150–400 platelets/nL) is called thrombocytopenia, while a count above the normal values can be referred to as thrombocythemia or thrombocytosis.

Platelets counts in blood are usually checked through a complete blood count, which is often done as a routine checkup.

What does it mean when your platelet count in whole blood is high?

Thrombocythemia and thrombocytosis are conditions that occur when your blood has a higher-than-normal platelet count. If your platelet count is too high, blood clots can form in your blood vessels. This can block blood flow through your body.

Many people who have thrombocythemia or thrombocytosis do not have symptoms. These conditions might be discovered only after routine blood tests. However, it is an important factor as a high platelet count can increase your likelihood of blood clots happening. Thrombocythemia and thrombocytosis both indicate a high platelet count but have different causes:


  • Occurs when faulty cells in your bone marrow make too many platelets
  • Most often caused by your genes, mutations or changes in those genes
  • Not as common as thrombocytosis


  • Occurs when another disease or condition causes you to have a high platelet count
  • Can be caused by: anemia, cancer, spleen removal surgery and inflammation or infections
  • More common than thrombocythemia

Platelet counts can also be high for a short time when recovering from a low platelet count caused by serious blood loss, drinking too much alcohol, acute infections or inflammation.

What does it mean when your platelet count in whole blood is low?

Thrombocytopenia is a condition that occurs when the platelet count in your blood is too low. Platelets are tiny blood cells that are made in the bone marrow from larger cells. When you are injured, platelets stick together to form a plug to seal your wound. This plug is called a blood clot. Platelets are also called thrombocytes, because a blood clot is also called a thrombus.

Higher risk of spontaneous bleeding

Thrombocytopenia is considered to be mild when the platelet count is between 70 and 150 platelets/nL, and severe if less than 20 platelets/nL. Most individuals are asymptomatic if the platelet count is 50 platelets/nL or greater. Bleeding from minimal trauma may occur with a platelet count of 30 platelets/nL or less, and spontaneous bleeding may occur when the platelet count is less than 10 platelets/nL. Spontaneous bleeding may occur in the mucosa, skin, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, central nervous system, and genitourinary tract.

Common causes

Common causes of a low platelet count include:

  • Autoimmune diseases such as immune thrombocytopenia (ITP), lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or pulmonary embolism.
  • Drug-induced thrombocytopenia. The mechanism for drug-induced thrombocytopenia can vary. Sometimes it is caused by the immune system. For instance, heparin induced thrombocytopenia. In others such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy the production of platelets in the bone marrow is decreased.
  • Viral infections
  • Bacterial and other infections such as malaria
  • Bone marrow malignancies such as several types of leukemia and lymphomas
  • Liver disease and chronic alcohol abuse
  • Surgery, due to platelets going through artificial heart valves, blood vessel grafts, machines and tubing.

Studies have shown that platelet count can change significantly with age and sex. For example, platelet count tends to decline with age. It is important to take this factors into account—especially if there are no other symptoms.

Platelet Count from a drop of blood PC100™ PLATELET COUNTER

The PC100 Platelet Counter is a highly portable point-of-care device that accurately counts cells (platelets / thrombocytes) typically within 8 – 15 minutes.

The automatic cell counter for thrombocytes or platelets is able to accurately count platelet concentrations in whole blood and in Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP).

The platelet counter is a device which removes the need to count thrombocytes manually and is a cost effective, small and a flexible alternative to flowcytometers for platelet counts. All parts that come into contact with blood are disposable – no contamination, no cleaning time.

PC100 Thrombocyte / Platelet Counter
PC100 Platelet Counter

Platelet count results within 15 minutes.


Highly accurate from 20μl of blood or 10μl of PRP. Medically validated by Maastricht University Hospital.


The device uses disposable counting slides making it is fast, clean and accurate.


It counts platelets in whole blood within the range [20-600] platelets per nl and [250-3600] in PRP. 


[1] National Cancer Institute. https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/platelet.

[2] Balduini CL, Noris P. Platelet count and aging. Haematologica. 2014;99(6). doi:10.3324/haematol.2014.106260

[3] National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, “Thrombocytopenia”. nhlbi.nih.gov https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/thrombocytopenia.

[4] National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, “Thrombocytemia and Thrombocytosis”. nhlbi.nih.gov https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/thrombocythemia-thrombocytosis.

[5] National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, “Blood Tests”. nhlbi.nih.gov https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/blood-tests.

[6] Greenberg EM, Kaled ES. Thrombocytopenia. Crit Care Nurs Clin North Am. 2013;25(4):427-434. doi:10.1016/j.ccell.2013.08.003