Your doctor may suspect you have factor V Leiden if:
- You have your first clotting incidence before age 50
- You have a family history of the disorder
- You've had two or more blood-clotting incidents
- You're a woman who's had recurrent miscarriages or unexplained pregnancy complications
- You've had blood clots in unusual areas, such as your liver or brain
Your doctor may refer you to a specialist in genetic disorders (geneticist) or a specialist in blood disorders (hematologist) for testing to determine whether the cause of your blood clots is genetic, and specifically, whether you have the factor V Leiden mutation. It's a good idea to be well prepared for your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down your health history, including your history of blood clots. Also include any family history of blood clots or known family members with factor V mutations.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements you're taking, along with the dose for each.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Preparing a list of questions can help you make sure that you cover everything that's important to you. For factor V Leiden, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- Do I need to see a specialist?
- Does my factor V Leiden need to be treated?
- Do I need to take medication to prevent additional blood clots?
- What types of side effects can I expect from the medication?
- Do I need to limit my activity in any way?
- If I have children, do they need to be tested?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
If your doctor recommends genetic testing, some questions you might want to ask the genetic specialist include:
- How accurate is this test?
- What are the risks of the test?
- What information will come out of the test?
- What will a positive or negative result tell me?
- Can the results of the test affect my ability to obtain health insurance?
- Is an uncertain result possible, and what would that mean?
- What are my treatment options if a mutation is found?
- Could other family members be affected?
- Should my children be tested?
- What measures are in place to protect my privacy?
- How experienced is the lab at performing this test?
- How long will it take to get results back?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask additional questions anytime you don't understand something.
Sept. 06, 2012
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- Ornstein DL, et al. Factor V Leiden. Circulation. 2003;107:1.
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- Pulmonary embolism. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/pulmonary_disorders/pulmonary_embolism/pulmonary_embolism.html. Accessed July 3, 2012.
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- Pradaxa [prescribing information]. Ridgefield, Conn.:Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; 2012. http://bidocs.boehringer-ingelheim.com/BIWebAccess/ViewServlet.ser?docBase=renetnt&folderPath=/Prescribing%20Information/PIs/Pradaxa/Pradaxa.pdf. Accessed July 5, 2012.
- Xarelto [prescribing information]. Titusville, N.J.: Janssen Pharmaceuticals; 2011. http://www.xareltohcp.com/sites/default/files/pdf/xarelto_0.pdf#zoom=100. Accessed July 5, 2012.
- Eligibility criteria. American Red Cross. http://www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood/eligibility-requirements/eligibility-criteria-alphabetical-listing. Accessed May 10, 2012.
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