Friday, 23 November 2012

A bit about Factor V Leiden

I've realised I've made allusions to Factor V Leiden in earlier posts but not really explained properly what it is and why it's important in the context of recovering from bunion surgery.

This website gives a good overview, and Wikipedia is always useful, but in case you can't be bothered to click on the links, it's a genetic disorder, so it's inherited, and is what they call the equivalent of a typo in a single gene.

Basically, it means I have sticky blood which clots too easily, putting me at a greater risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis even in everyday life and obviously, as I'll be pretty immobile after my bunions are done, I'll be at very high risk while I'm recovering.

Factor V Leiden is the reason behind my five first-trimester miscarriages, and I only found out that I have it as a result of investigations at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, the world-leaders in research and treatment of recurrent miscarriages (counted in the UK as being three in a row).

Thankfully, the treatment for it while I'm in recovery is easy - either heparin or warfarin to thin my blood and prevent it clotting.

The treatment for next time I get pregnant is similar - daily heparin injections (ugh) and a low dose of aspirin too.

I'm actually still waiting to hear if I also have Anti-Phospholipid Syndrome, another clotting disorder, but the Factor V Leiden is the main one. APS is acquired rather than inherited.

I don't think that for the purposes of this operation it makes much difference if I have APS as well. It makes a difference when I'm pregnant (I'll need a higher dose of aspirin from 34 weeks), but I hope that St Mary's will actually manage to get my results to me by then. At the moment they seem to have lost them, but anyone who knows my general views on the NHS will know that does not surprise me.

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