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Bleeding and Clotting Disorders

Protein C deficiency

12/02/2008

Question:

My husband has protein c deficiency and so does his mother and his brother. I understand that this is an inherited condition which is managed with blood thinning medications.

My sons are 26 and 34 years of age. Other than a blood clot, what if any, are the warning signs that you have Protein C deficiency and does it help to know? Does it vary in severity from individual to individual?

Are there tests to find out if you have Protein C deficiency other than genetic testing?

Finally, (thank you for your patience), if the boys undergo surgery in the future should they advise the surgeon of their family history?

Answer:

From what you describe, it sounds as though there could be a true protein C deficiency that runs in the family on your husband's side. While the presence of protein C deficiency alone (without ever having a venous blood clot) does not mean that blood thinners should be prescribed, it does mean that your sons could be deficient and, therefore, could be at increased risk for venous thrombotic events.

I would encourage you to have your sons be seen by a hematologist or someone with expertise in blood clotting disorders to get the testing, counseling, and additional information that your family needs. That way, they will know for sure whether they are protein C deficient, and will be able to discuss ways to decrease the risk for developing venous thrombotic problems whether they are protein C deficient or not.

For more information:

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Response by:

Spero R Cataland, MD Spero R Cataland, MD
Associate Professor of Clinical Internal Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University