The bleeding time may be longer in children than in adults

J. M. Sanders, C. A. Holtkamp, G. R. Buchanan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The bleeding time, the most frequently performed test reflecting in vivo platelet function, is the duration of blood flow from a standardized incision on the volar surface of the forearm. Normal values have been determined in adult subjects, but with the exception of neonates, data on the range of bleeding time values in pediatric patients are unavailable. Standard hematology textbooks imply that bleeding time values in children are similar to those of adults. We have reviewed our 9 years of experience with 137 children (mean age 6.5 years) who were referred for diagnostic evaluation of a bleeding disorder but whose history and physical examination were felt by us to be inconsistent with an abnormality of hemostasis. Bleeding time values in these individuals (mean 6.0 min, 95th percentile 9.0 min) were compared with those of 85 normal adult volunteers (mean 4.4 min, 95th percentile 6.5 min). The Simplate-I disposable device and vertical (perpendicular to elbow crease) incision direction were used in both groups. This difference between the pediatric and adult bleeding time values is statistically significant (p < 0.0001). Neither age nor sex had a significant effect on the pediatric bleeding time measurements. We conclude that the bleeding time, when performed as described, is longer in children than in adults and that pediatric standards for bleeding time should be used in order to avoid a spurious diagnosis of a primary hemostatic disorder in some normal children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)314-318
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1990


  • Bleeding time
  • Hemostasis
  • Pediatric values
  • Platelets
  • Von Willebrand’s disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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