A 35-year-old woman with severe (less than 1 percent) factor VII deficiency had recurrent hemarthroses involving the left knee, leading to deformity, pain, and virtually complete loss of function. It was elected to perform a total knee replacement. In preparation for surgery, the patient received heat-treated prothrombin complex concentrate containing 870 units of factor VII per vial. A dose of 50 U/kg raised the factor VII level to 115 percent. At surgery, dense adhesions were found within the joint, the articular cartilage was overgrown with pannus extending out to the lateral patella, and there was extensive deformity of the femoral condyle and tibial plateau. The joint was excised and replaced by a cemented Microloc prosthesis. Postoperatively, factor VII levels were maintained above 10 percent by six-hourly infusions of concentrate. Beginning on Day 4, single daily infusions of 25 U/kg were given prior to physical therapy. No bleeding occurred, and the patient was ambulating at the time of discharge 20 days postoperatively. This experience indicates that despite its short half-life (less than four hours), factor VII levels sufficient to prevent bleeding can be maintained in factor VII-deficient patients undergoing major operative procedures.
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