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.


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National Hemophilia Foundation (2006). Factor V Deficiency. Retrieved September 21, 2007, from the National Hemophilia Foundation Web site: