Factor VII assay
The factor VII assay is a blood test to measure the activity of factor VII -- one of the substances needed for blood clotting (coagulation).
How the Test is Performed
A blood sample is needed. For information on how this is done, see: Venipuncture
How to Prepare for the Test
Your health care provider may ask you to stop taking certain medications.
How the Test Will Feel
When the needle is inserted to draw blood, you may feel moderate pain, or only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.
Why the Test is Performed
This test is used to find the cause of excessive bleeding (decreased blood clotting).
The normal value is 50 - 200% of the laboratory control or reference value.
Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.
The examples above show the common measurements for results for these tests. Some laboratories use different measurements or may test different specimens.
What Abnormal Results Mean
Decreased factor VII activity may be related to:
- Congenital deficiency of factor VII
- Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC)
- Fat malabsorption
- Liver disease (such as cirrhosis)
- Vitamin K deficiency
- Warfarin (Coumadin) use
Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another, and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.
Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:
- Excessive bleeding
- Fainting or feeling light-headed
- Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
- Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)
This test is most often performed on people who have bleeding problems. The risk of excessive bleeding is slightly greater than for people without bleeding problems.
When you bleed, the body launches a series of activities that help the blood clot. This is called the coagulation cascade. The process involves special proteins called coagulation factors (factor VII is a coagulation factor).
Each factor's reaction triggers the next reaction. The final product of the coagulation cascade is the blood clot. Blood clots may not form normally if any one of the clotting factors is abnormally low.
Gailani D, Neff AT. Rare coagulation factor deficiencies. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ Jr., Shattil SJ, et al, eds. Hoffman Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2008:chap 127.
Kessler C. Hemorrhagic disorders: Coagulation factor deficiencies. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2007:chap 180.
Review Date: 2/28/2011
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.