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Use of a functional assay to diagnose protein S deficiency; inappropriate testing yields equivocal results

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Abstract:

Inherited deficiency of protein S (PS) is a rare but accepted risk factor for venous thromboembolism. There is accumulating evidence that inherited PS deficiency may be associated with a variety of adverse obstetric events. Acquired PS deficiency may be caused by a variety of clinical states including normal pregnancy. We conducted a retrospective audit of the results of screening for PS deficiency through our reference laboratory. The majority of patients in this audit with significantly reduced (<50%) free functional PS levels had a major confounding factor likely to cause acquired PS deficiency, most frequently pregnancy. Recommendations for PS testing for the diagnosis of hereditary PS deficiency include deferring testing until at least 40 days post‐partum. It appears that these recommendations are not being adhered to leading to difficulty in the interpretation of results.

Keywords: blood coagulation tests; pregnancy; protein S deficiency; thrombophilia; venous thromboembolism

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1445-5994.2007.01372.x

Affiliations: Northern Blood Research Centre, University of Sydney, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Publication date: 2007-06-01

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