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Genet Med. 2011 Jan;13(1):1-16. doi: 10.1097/GIM.0b013e3181faa0f2.

Factor V Leiden thrombophilia.

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  • 1Northwest Cancer Specialists, Portland, OR 97227, USA.


Factor V Leiden is a genetic disorder characterized by a poor anticoagulant response to activated Protein C and an increased risk for venous thromboembolism. Deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism are the most common manifestations, but thrombosis in unusual locations also occurs. The current evidence suggests that the mutation has at most a modest effect on recurrence risk after initial treatment of a first venous thromboembolism. Factor V Leiden is also associated with a 2- to 3-fold increased relative risk for pregnancy loss and possibly other obstetric complications, although the probability of a successful pregnancy outcome is high. The clinical expression of Factor V Leiden is influenced by the number of Factor V Leiden alleles, coexisting genetic and acquired thrombophilic disorders, and circumstantial risk factors. Diagnosis requires the activated Protein C resistance assay (a coagulation screening test) or DNA analysis of the F5 gene, which encodes the Factor V protein. The first acute thrombosis is treated according to standard guidelines. Decisions regarding the optimal duration of anticoagulation are based on an individualized assessment of the risks for venous thromboembolism recurrence and anticoagulant-related bleeding. In the absence of a history of thrombosis, long-term anticoagulation is not routinely recommended for asymptomatic Factor V Leiden heterozygotes, although prophylactic anticoagulation may be considered in high-risk clinical settings. In the absence of evidence that early diagnosis reduces morbidity or mortality, decisions regarding testing at-risk family members should be made on an individual basis.

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