Factor V Leiden (a hereditary blood clotting disorder)

Factor V Leiden

What is factor V Leiden?

There are a number of inherited, or genetic, blood conditions that may increase a person's chance of forming blood clots. One of the most common of these is factor V Leiden.

Factor V Leiden means a patient's blood clots more readily. Many people are not aware they carry the gene until they or a family member have a blood clot.

What are symptoms of factor V Leiden?

Many patients with factor V Leiden never experience symptoms. If a patient has a clot, he or she may be tested for this and other blood clotting diseases.

Symptoms of blood clots vary depending upon where the clot is located:

  • Blood clots in the brain may cause visual disturbances, weakness, seizures, or speech impairment.
  • Blood clots in the arm or leg may cause sudden pain, swelling, or tenderness.
  • A blood clot in the lung may cause sharp chest pain, rapid pulse, bloody cough, shortness of breath, sweating, or fever.
  • A blood clot in the abdomen may cause severe abdominal pain, vomiting or diarrhea.

How is factor V Leiden diagnosed?

A doctor may suspect factor V Leiden if a patient has had one or more episodes of thrombosis, or blood clots. Blood tests and genetic tests are used to identify and confirm a diagnosis of factor V Leiden.

How is factor V Leiden treated?

As with other blood clotting disorders, medications may be used to help prevent clotting at high-risk times such as pregnancy, major surgery, prolonged bed rest or inactivity or trauma. More prolonged courses of treatment may be needed after a clotting episode.

Medication may be continued indefinitely if necessary. A healthy lifestyle is strongly encouraged as a way to prevent blood clots and other complications.

What outcomes for factor V Leiden are available at Children's?

The vast majority of children diagnosed and treated for factor V Leiden can expect to live a normal life. Special care should be taken when the patient may be expecting surgery or long periods of inactivity. The focus for those diagnosed with the disease is to prevent blood clots.

About treatment for factor V Leiden at Children's

At Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, your child has a team of health care experts to diagnose and treat disorders such as factor V Leiden. Part of that team includes health educators who will help your family recognize the signs and symptoms of a clot so you can seek immediate treatment and prevent serious complications.

We also believe that follow-up care can help your child successfully manage this diagnosis for the rest of his or her life.

Contact us

If you are a family member looking for a Children's hematologist or oncologist or wanting to schedule an appointment, please call our clinic at Children's – Minneapolis at (612) 813-5940.

If you are a health professional looking for consultation or referral information, please call Children's Physician Access at 1-866-755-2121 (toll-free) and ask for the on-call hematologist/oncologist.