These pictures illustrate the performance of the bleeding time test which is used in conjunction with other coagulation tests, such as the prothrombin time, in the evaluation of a patient suspected of having a bleeding disorder. Several anticoagulants are used in laboratory practice, the most common being lithium heparin and ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA).
EDTA and citrate bind Ca2+ and Mg2+, thus interfering with the action of calcium and magnesium-dependent enzymes involved in the clotting cascade.
Serum, on the other hand, is the supernatant obtained after a blood sample has been allowed to clot spontaneously (this usually requires 30–45 minutes).

Glucose values in unpreserved blood samples decrease quickly after collection as glucose is metabolised by the blood cells. A patient's bleeding time is a measure of the number of platelets, how well they function and the ability of the capillary blood vessel wall to constrict (sometimes referred to as capillary integrity).
During clotting, fibrinogen is converted to fibrin as a result of proteolytic cleavage by thrombin, and so a major difference between plasma and serum is the absence of fibrinogen in serum. A filter paper is used to pull the blood away from the incision allowing the technician to view the wound.

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