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Cases J. 2009 Aug 24;2:7024. doi: 10.4076/1757-1626-2-7024.

Assessment of specific risks for the recurrence of deep vein thrombosis: a case report.

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1
Department of Medicine, Division of Thrombosis, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University B-214 Clinical Center East Lansing, MI 48824 USA. boysjosh@msu.edu

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Venous thromboembolism is a multifactorial disease defined by multiple interactions between genetic and environmental components. It is managed by oral anticoagulation with warfarin sodium (Coumadin), a drug that targets the vitamin K epoxide reductase to prevent the recycling of vitamin K epoxide to the reduced form of vitamin K. The reduced form of vitamin K is an essential cofactor in the formation of active clotting factors II, VII, IX, X and regulatory factors protein C, and cofactor protein S through gamma-glutamyl carboxylation. The duration of Coumadin treatment, three to six months or life-long, should be based on the individual risk for recurrent deep vein thrombosis and on the associated increased risk for bleeding complications.

CASE PRESENTATION:

A previously healthy 50-year-old white male developed a deep vein thrombosis consequent to surgical placement of a titanium rod to correct a fracture of the femur and he was maintained for over a year on daily oral doses of Coumadin 9 mg and aspirin 325 mg. When he began to bruise spontaneously with multiple large hematomas appearing without provocation, he requested that his primary care physician reconsider the anticoagulation. Because of his age, sex, and the possibility of an inherited or acquired anticoagulant protein deficiency he was maintained on Coumadin and a thrombophilia work up was ordered. Test results were interpreted as deficiencies in both protein C and protein S and he was instructed that life-long therapy with Coumadin was necessary. Is this a correct evaluation by his primary care physician?

CONCLUSION:

This case illustrates that Coumadin, a vitamin K agonist, was exerting a therapeutically acceptable negative influence on plasma activity levels of vitamin K-dependent protein C and protein S. Relying on the outcome of a thrombophilia work-up for a decision to maintain or cease Coumadin treatment of patients at risk for recurrent deep vein thrombosis has pitfalls that can be avoided. The use of real-time B-mode venous ultrasonography to verify complete restoration of venous flow before ceasing Coumadin treatment is not always considered in the long-term management of a patient with a first thrombosis, despite the well documented significant risk of deep vein thrombosis recurrence associated with an unresolved thrombosis.

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