PT mixing study, using equal volume patient and normal pool plasma, may be performed on specimens with a prolonged PT to assist in differentiating coagulation factor deficiencies from coagulation inhibitors. Correction of the PT mix to within the normal reference range usually indicates a coagulation factor deficiency (normal plasma in the mixture ensures at least 50% activity of all coagulation factors). If the prolonged PT is due to an inhibitor (specific coagulation factor inhibitor, lupus anticoagulant, heparin, etc.), the PT mix typically fails to correct a prolonged PT. However, the presence of a weak inhibitor may be missed by the PT mixing study.
Accurate interpretation of both PT and PT mixing study results may often require additional testing. For example, the thrombin time (TT) test is helpful for identifying or excluding the presence of heparin, the platelet neutralization procedure (PNP, using a modified APTT method) for identifying or excluding lupus anticoagulant, the activated partial thromboplastin (APTT) and dilute Russell's viper venom time (DRVVT) for further assessment of the common procoagulant pathway, and coagulation factor assays to detect and identify deficient or abnormal factors. These assays are available as components of reflexive and interpretive testing panels in the Special Coagulation Laboratory (eg, PROCT / Prolonged Clot Time Profile).