Factor VII levels have been measured in 100 patients with liver disease following parenteral vitamin K1 therapy. There was good agreement between specific factor VII measurements and the one-stage prothrombin time apart from six patients with compensated cirrhosis in whom the prothrombin time was prolonged despite the presence of normal factor VII levels. A mean activity of 58% was found in patients with cirrhosis. Cirrhotic patients with features of hepatic decompensation had a significantly lower mean level of activity (40%) than the "contrast" patients with surgical obstruction of the major bile ducts (93%). Patients with chronic active liver disease had moderate depression of factor VII levels and those with non-cirrhotic liver damage had mean activities similar to the contrast group. Factor VII levels could not be correlated with BSP retention but there was a correlation with serum albumin concentration. It is concluded that the prothrombin time using Quick test with a standardized thromboplastin showing good sensitivity to factor VII, eg, the Manchester reagent (BCT), provides a reliable index of coagulability in chronic liver disease, and specific factor VII assays are not indicated.
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