Mean Platelet Volume (MPV) Lab Values

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Determine the significance and clinical use of the lab value of Mean Platelet Volume in clinical practice.


Lab Test Name:

Mean Platelet Volume – MPV



Measurement of platelets in volume measured by fL. 

  • Age
  • Rate of production
  • Assess platelet function in inflammatory conditions
  • Aids in diagnosis
    • Thrombocytopenias -bleeding disorders
    • Potential diseases of the bone marrow

Factors affecting MPV

  • Living at high altitudes
  • Vigorous exercise routine



Indications to test MPV:

  • Abnormal CBC
  • Monitoring aplastic anemia
    • aplastic anemia
    • Congenital thrombocytopenias
    • Myelodysplastic syndrome
  • Signs of bleeding- purpura, petechiae
  • Headache, dizziness/lightheadedness, chest pain, numbness/tingling


Normal Therapeutic Values:


Normal: 9-10 fL (femtoliter)


  • CBC 
  • Lavender tube


What would cause increased levels?

High MPV – active bone marrow production of platelets in a thrombocytopenic patient

  • Young platelets
  • Sign of overproduction of platelets
    • Older platelets are being destroyed
  • Warning sign of of several cancers
    • Requires full clinical picture for diagnosis!
  • Select congenital thrombocytopenic conditions
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Serial labs showing increase in MPV – can indicate recovery of bone marrow production of megakaryocytes (i.e. hypoplastic or aplastic recovery)


What would cause decreased levels?

  • Low MPV – platelets are smaller in size than average
    • Older platelets
    • Indicative of bone marrow suppression
      • Chemotherapy
      • Aplastic anemia
    • Congenital thrombocytopenias
    • IBD – Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis

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Hey everyone. This is Abby from This lesson is going to cover a lab value for mean platelet volume abbreviated as MPV. Let’s get started.


Mean platelet volume is a measurement of the average size of a patient’s platelets average and mean it’s measured by volume and recorded in femtoliters. Femtoliters are one quadrillionth of a liter. Things that affect platelet size are the age of the platelet, older platelets tend to be a little smaller, their rate of production, and their function in inflammatory states. This lab value is an aid in diagnosis it’s never used in isolation. It helps diagnose certain thrombocytopenias and also diseases of the bone marrow. Some factors that affect mean platelet volume or the average size of platelets are when you’re living at high altitudes, meaning you have a lower oxygen content in the air, and in inflammatory states like vigorous exercise routines. Some clinical indications, or some reasons why we would test mean platelet volume, are if our CBC returns abnormal, or we want to monitor a plastic anemia with our MPV to know if our treatment is effective or not.


Congenital thrombocytopenias is mentioned as a reason to monitor. And then myodysplastic syndromes are also a reason to monitor our MPV. Now, what would we see in clinical presentation with a patient they could help bleeding. This could be from anywhere, but we also will see it first in the skin evaluation. So, this could be a little petechiae that have formed, or it could be nice big dark purpura. These patients may present with headaches, dizziness, chest pain, and numbness and tingling. Platelets of course are a big part of the CBC. The MPV is part of the differential. Normal therapeutic values are between nine and 10 femtoliters. They’re collected in a lavender tube as part of the CBC lab values that are increased for the MPV indicate macrocytic or large platelets. Just look at the size of this platelet in comparison to the red blood cell.


It should never be that, right? It could also mean that there’s an overproduction of platelets, a high destruction of older platelets, or that it’s a presentation from congenital thrombocytopenia. Also, lab studies will be taken in patients that have a case where they’re recovering from bone marrow transplant or some type of other disease or disorder lab values will be decreased, or the average size of platelets will be smaller or microcytic, when platelets are older or it could even be indicative of bone marrow suppression. This could be if someone’s receiving cytotoxic medication therapy like that of chemotherapy, and in patients with aplastic anemia. Now we see this congenital thrombocytopenia. Again, remember not every thrombocytopenia is going to look the same and not every lab and particularly not. The MPV will not be taken in isolation for diagnosis. We also see decreased values or really small platelets in irritable bowel diseases like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis.

This picture is showing a much better view of what size the platelet should be in comparison to red blood cells. This in particular is a little clot that has formed. The linchpins in this lesson are to remember that the mean platelet volume measures – the average size of platelet. A normal size is between nine and 10 femtoliters, and an increase in size would make it a macrocytic platelet. If the value is decreased, we have tiny platelets and they might not be as effective.


Now, you all did so great on this lesson. Remember, we love you guys now go out, be your best self today, and as always happy nursing.




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