Factor VII (seven) deficiency is a disorder caused by a lack of a protein called factor VII in the blood. It leads to problems with blood clotting (coagulation).
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When you bleed, a series of reactions take place in the body that helps blood clots form. This process is called the coagulation cascade. It involves special proteins called coagulation, or clotting factors. You may have a higher chance of excess bleeding if one or more of these factors are missing or are not functioning as they should.
Factor VII is one such coagulation factor. Factor VII deficiency runs in families (inherited) and is very rare. Both parents must have the gene to pass the disorder on to their children. A family history of a bleeding disorder can be a risk factor.
Factor VII deficiency can also be due to another condition or use of certain medicines. This is called acquired factor VII deficiency. It can be caused by:
Low vitamin K (some babies are born with vitamin K deficiency)
Severe liver disease
Use of medicines that prevent clotting (anticoagulants such as warfarin)
You can expect a good outcome with proper treatment.
Inherited factor VII deficiency is a lifelong condition.
The outlook for acquired factor VII deficiency depends on the cause. If it is caused by liver disease, the outcome depends on how well your liver disease can be treated. Taking vitamin K supplements will treat vitamin K deficiency.
Complications may include:
Excessive bleeding (hemorrhage)
Stroke or other nervous system problems from central nervous system bleeding
Joint problems in severe cases when bleeding happens often
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Get emergency treatment right away if you have severe, unexplained bleeding.
There is no known prevention for inherited factor VII deficiency. When a lack of vitamin K is the cause, using vitamin K can help.
Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.