Blood Clotting Disorder Factor V Deficiency

Factor V deficiency, also known as Owren disease or parahemophilia, is a blood coagulation disorder that is caused by a deficiency of the plasma protein Factor V, which aids in the formation of blood clots. People with this condition often experience bruising, nosebleeds and bleeding in the mouth.

Factor V deficiency is very rare, affecting approximately one person out of 1 million. All genders, races and age groups are at risk for this disorder.

Factor V Deficiency Explained

Factor V deficiency was discovered in Norway in 1943 by Dr. Paul Owren, who discovered that there was a fifth component necessary for fibrin formation. Owren named this component Factor V.

Natural blood coagulation involves 20 different plasma proteins, or blood coagulation factors. A series of complex chemical reactions using these factors takes place speedily to form fibrin, a protein that is necessary to form clots and stop bleeding. Unfortunately, certain coagulation factors can be missing or deficient in blood. When factors are missing, such as in Factor V deficiency, clot formation can be negatively impacted.

Factor V Deficiency Causes

Like hemophilia, another blood-clotting disease, Factor V deficiency is usually inherited. However, unlike hemophilia, which affects more men than women, Factor V deficiency is seen equally in both males and females.

In addition to being inherited, people can develop Factor V deficiency later in life due to such factors as:

  • autoimmune diseases
  • certain cancers
  • child birth
  • patients being treated with fibrin glue
  • surgery.

Symptoms of Factor V Deficiency

A person who has Factor V deficiency may exhibit the following symptoms:

  • bleeding into the skin
  • bleeding of the gums
  • bruising excessively
  • excessive blood loss with surgery
  • heavy menstrual bleeding
  • nosebleeds
  • umbilical stump bleeding in infants.

Keep in mind, however, that the severity of symptoms can vary greatly from person to person.

Factor V Leiden

Factor V Leiden is not to be confused with Factor V deficiency, as Factor V Leiden is a more common clotting disorder.The cause of Factor V Leiden is gene mutation of clotting Factor V, which causes Factor V to respond more slowly to protein C, the anti-clotting factor that normally controls the activity of Factor V. Therefore, people with Factor V Leiden have an increased risk of blood clots.Despite the fact that Factor V deficiency and Factor V Leiden are two different diseases, their diagnoses, symptoms and treatments are often similar.

Factor V Deficiency Diagnosis and Treatment

To test for Factor V deficiency, a doctor may perform the following:

  • bleeding time blood test
  • Factor V assay (a blood test that measures that activity of Factor V)
  • partial thromboplastin time (a blood test to test the time it takes for blood to clot)
  • prothrombin time (a test that determines how long it takes the plasma in the blood to clot).

If a doctor determines that a patient has Factor V deficiency, he will likely prescribe infusions of fresh or frozen plasma. These infusions should correct the deficiency temporarily and should also be administered during bleeding episodes or after surgery.

Resources

Kozyreva, Olga (2007). Factor V. Retrieved September 22, 2007, from the eMedicine Web site: http://www.emedicine.com/med/fulltopic/topic3492.htm.

Matsui, William (2006). Factor V Deficiency. Retrieved September 21, 2007, from the Medicine Plus Medical Encyclopedia Web site: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000550.htm.

Mayo Clinic Staff (2006). Factor V Leiden: Are there different types? Retrieved September 24, 2007, from the Mayo Clinic Web site: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/factor-v-leiden/AN00900.

National Hemophilia Foundation (2006). Factor V Deficiency. Retrieved September 21, 2007, from the National Hemophilia Foundation Web site: http://www.hemophilia.org/NHFWeb/MainPgs/MainNHF.aspx?menuid=186