There are four methods to perform the bleeding test. The Ivy method is the traditional format for this test. In the Ivy method, a blood pressure cuff is placed on the upper arm and inflated to 40 mM Hg. A lancet or scalpel blade is used to make a stab wound on the underside of the forearm. An automatic, spring-loaded blade device is most commonly used to make a standard-sized cut. The area stabbed is selected so that no superficial or visible veins are cut. These veins, because of their size, may have longer bleeding times, especially in people with bleeding defects. The time from when the stab wound is made until all bleeding has stopped is measured and is called the bleeding time. Every 30 seconds, filter paper or a paper towel is used to draw off the blood. The test is finished when bleeding has stopped completely.
The three other methods of performing the bleeding test are the template, modified template, and Duke methods. The template and modified template methods are variations of the Ivy method. A blood pressure cuff is used and the skin on the forearm prepared as in the Ivy method. A template is placed over the area to be stabbed and two incisions are made in the forearm using the template as a location guide. The main difference between the template and the modified method is the length of the cut made.
For the Duke method, a nick is made in an ear lobe or a fingertip is pricked to cause bleeding. As in the Ivy method, the test is timed from the start of bleeding until bleeding is completely stopped. The disadvantage to the Duke method is that the pressure on the blood veins in the stab area is not constant and the results achieved are less reliable. The advantage to the Duke method is that no scar remains after the test. The other methods may result in a tiny, hairline scar where the wound was made. However, this is largely a cosmetic concern.
John T. Lohr PhD, The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit,