Laboratory investigation of thrombophilia

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Until recently, laboratory diagnosis of thrombophilia was based on investigation of the plasmatic anticoagulant pathways to detect antithrombin, protein C, and protein S deficiencies and on the search for dysfibrinogenemia and anti-phospholipid antibodies/lupus anticoagulants. More recently, laboratory investigations have been expanded to include activated protein C (APC) resistance, attributable or not to the presence of the factor V Leiden mutation; hyperprothrombinemia attributable to the presence of the prothrombin gene mutation G20210A; and hyperhomocysteinemia attributable to impairment of the relevant metabolic pathway because of enzymatic and/or vitamin deficiencies. All of the above are established congenital or acquired conditions associated with an increased risk of venous and, more rarely, arterial thrombosis. Testing is recommended for patients who have a history of venous thrombosis and should be extended to their first-degree family members. Because most of the tests are not reliable during anticoagulation, it is preferable to postpone laboratory testing until after discontinuation of treatment. Whenever possible, testing should be performed by means of functional assays. DNA analysis is required for the prothrombin gene mutation G20210A. Laboratory diagnosis for anti-phospholipid antibodies/lupus anticoagulant should be performed by a combination of tests, including phospholipid-dependent clotting assays and solid-phase anti-cardiolipin antibodies. Hyperhomocysteinemia can be diagnosed by HPLC methods or by fluorescence polarization immunoassays.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1597-1606
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Chemistry
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry


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