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Euglobulin lysis time

Euglobulin lysis time (ELT) is a blood test that measures how fast clots break down in the blood.

How the Test is Performed

A blood sample is needed.

How to Prepare for the Test

Follow the instructions that tell you how long before the test you need to stop exercising. Heavy exercise can cause a shorter-than-normal ELT time.

How the Test will Feel

When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain. Others feel only a prick or stinging. Afterward, there may be some throbbing or slight bruising. This soon goes away.

Why the Test is Performed

This is one of the best tests to tell the difference between primary fibrinolysis and disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC). Primary fibrinolysis is the normal breakdown of blood clots. DIC is disease that prevents blood from clotting normally.

The test can also be used to monitor patients who are taking streptokinase or urokinase after a heart attack. These are medicines that prevent blood clots.

Normal Results

A normal value will range from 90 minutes to 6 hours. Euglobulin clot lysis is normally complete within 2 to 4 hours.

Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or test different samples. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.

What Abnormal Results Mean

A longer-than-normal ELT time may be due to:

A shorter-than-normal ELT time may be due to:

The test may also be done to diagnose or rule out:

Risks

There is a very little risk from having your blood taken. Veins and arteries vary in size so it may be harder to take a blood sample from one person than another.

Other slight risks from having blood drawn may include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Fainting or feeling lightheaded
  • Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
  • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)

Alternative Names

Euglobulin clot lysis; Fibrinolysis/euglobulin lysis; ELT

References

Fink LM, Marlar RA, Miller JL. Antithrombotic therapy. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 42.

Schmaier AH, Miller JL. Coagulation and fibrinolysis. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 39.

Update Date 1/27/2015

Updated by: Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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