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Factor VII Deficiency Clinical Presentation

  • Author: Muhammad A Mir, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Perumal Thiagarajan, MD  more...
Updated: May 12, 2016


Bleeding history is a crucial element in the evaluation of any patient with a hemorrhagic disorder. Of all factors evaluated, clinical history appears to be the best predictor of bleeding risk after hemostatic challenges in inherited FVII deficiencies.[16] A bleeding disorder is considered likely when a bleeding tendency is discovered in one or more family members or when an abnormal coagulation assay result is obtained as a part of a routine examination or before surgery.[17]

Knowing the mode of inheritance of hereditary disorders is important when eliciting the family history. Factor VII deficiency is an autosomal recessive disease, unlike hemophilia, which is an X-linked recessive disease.

Only homozygote or compound heterozygote patients with factor VII deficiency are symptomatic. Heterozygotes who have partial factor VII deficiency may not exhibit hemorrhagic manifestations, even following trauma. In symptomatic patients, clinical phenotypes vary from mild to severe and do not necessarily correlate with factor VII levels. A multicenter European study of patients who are congenitally factor VII deficient showed that clinical symptoms did not vary with the frequency of functional polymorphisms and that homozygotes with the same mutation presented with striking differences in severity of bleeding.[18]

Patients with factor VII levels of less than 1% frequently present with bleeding symptoms indistinguishable from those of persons with severe hemophilia A or hemophilia B. They may present with life-threatening intracerebral hemorrhage manifesting as headaches, seizures, or focal deficits or with recurrent hemarthrosis leading to severe arthropathy. Intracranial hemorrhage has been reported, especially in neonates after vaginal delivery.

Unlike in hemophilia, hemarthrosis rarely occurs but may be precipitated by trauma. Patients should be asked about recurrent joint pain, swelling, and motion limitation. Hemarthrosis is sometimes heralded by an aura of mild discomfort that becomes progressively painful over a period of minutes to hours. In children, hemarthrosis usually occurs when the affected child begins to walk.

Patients with factor VII levels of 5% or more have much milder disease characterized by epistaxis, gingival bleeding, menorrhagia, and easy bruising. In patients with mild disease, dental extractions, tonsillectomy, and procedures involving the urogenital tract are frequently associated with bleeding (due to local fibrinolysis), while surgical procedures such as laparotomy, herniorrhaphy, appendectomy, and hysterectomy are not. Postpartum hemorrhage is noted in patients with levels less than 10-20% of the reference range.

Bleeding isolated to a single organ or system (eg, hematuria, hematemesis, hemoptysis) is less likely to be due to a hemostatic abnormality than to a local cause such as neoplasm or ulcer.

A family history is particularly important when a hereditary factor deficiency is considered likely. A specific inquiry should be made about consanguinity. Population genetics information may be helpful; for example, a higher frequency of factor VII deficiency is observed in Iranian and Moroccan Jews.

Drug history is important; drugs of concern may include hepatotoxic drugs, oral anticoagulants (eg, warfarin), and agents such as aspirin. Nutritional history is important to assess the likelihood of vitamin K deficiency. Rarely, drugs such as penicillins and cephalosporins have been associated with selective factor VII deficiency, but other antibiotics can cause vitamin K deficiency and consequently inhibit the synthesis of functional vitamin K-dependent factors, including factor VII.



Physical findings depend on the site and severity of bleeding.

Hemarthrosis may lead to findings of joint swelling, motion limitation, and mild fever. If significant fever develops, infection should be considered. Repeated hemarthrosis leads to joint deformity complicated by muscle atrophy and contractures.

Focal neurological deficits depend on the location of bleeding into the nervous system. Symptoms and signs of subdural hematoma may be delayed for weeks.

Bruising and soft tissue bleeding may be observed with or without trauma. Large hematomas may expand locally and cause compression of adjacent organs, blood vessels, and nerves. Pharyngeal and retropharyngeal hematomas may enlarge and obstruct the airway.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Muhammad A Mir, MD, FACP Assistant Professor of Medicine (Hematology, Blood/Marrow Transplant) Milton S Hershey Medical Center, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine

Muhammad A Mir, MD, FACP is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians, American Society of Hematology, American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation, American Society of Clinical Oncology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Ronald A Sacher, MB, BCh, FRCPC, DTM&H Professor, Internal Medicine and Pathology, Director, Hoxworth Blood Center, University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center

Ronald A Sacher, MB, BCh, FRCPC, DTM&H is a member of the following medical societies: American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Association of Blood Banks, American Society for Clinical Pathology, American Society of Hematology, College of American Pathologists, International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, American Clinical and Climatological Association, International Society of Blood Transfusion

Disclosure: Serve(d) as a speaker or a member of a speakers bureau for: GSK Pharmaceuticals,Alexion,Johnson & Johnson Talecris,,Grifols<br/>Received honoraria from all the above companies for speaking and teaching.

Chief Editor

Perumal Thiagarajan, MD Professor, Department of Pathology and Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine; Director, Transfusion Medicine and Hematology Laboratory, Michael E DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Perumal Thiagarajan, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians, American Society for Clinical Investigation, Association of American Physicians, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, American Heart Association, American Society of Hematology, Royal College of Physicians

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Paul Schick, MD Emeritus Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University; Research Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Drexel University College of Medicine; Adjunct Professor of Medicine, Lankenau Hospital

Paul Schick, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians, American Society of Hematology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Francisco J Hernandez-Ilizaliturri, MD Associate Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Assistant Professor of Immunology, Department of Immunology, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, University of Buffalo State University of New York School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

Francisco J Hernandez-Ilizaliturri, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Association for Cancer Research and American Society of Hematology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Ganapathy S Krishnan, MBBS Fellow, Department of Hematology and Oncology, Michigan State University

Ganapathy S Krishnan, MBBS is a member of the following medical societies: American Society of Hematology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Jeyanthi Ramanarayanan, MD Assistant Professor, Medical Oncology, Veterans Affairs Medical Center of Buffalo

Jeyanthi Ramanarayanan, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin and American Society of Hematology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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Factor VII. Intrinsic and extrinsic pathways of coagulation. Factor VII/tissue factor complex activates factor IX and factor X. Factor IXa along with factor VIIIa results in formation of more factor Xa. Factor Xa along with factor Va converts prothrombin to thrombin.
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