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Factor VIII assay
Alternative namesFactor VIII assay is a blood test to measure the activity of factor VIII (one of the proteins important for coagulation).
How the test is performed
Blood is drawn from a vein, usually on the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. The puncture site is cleaned with antiseptic, and an elastic band is placed around the upper arm to apply pressure and restrict blood flow through the vein. This causes veins below the band to swell with blood.
A needle is inserted into the vein, and the blood is collected in an air-tight vial or a syringe. During the procedure, the band is removed to restore circulation. Once the blood has been collected, the needle is removed, and the puncture site is covered to stop any bleeding.
How to prepare for the testNo special preparation is necessary for this test.
How the test will feelWhen the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain, while others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.
Why the test is performedPlasma factor VIII is usually measured to diagnose or monitor treatment for hemophilia . This test may be used to detect the specific cause of excessive bleeding (decreased blood clotting).
Normal ValuesA result between 50% and 200% of the laboratory reference value is considered normal.
What abnormal results meanDecreased levels may indicate:
Additional conditions under which the test may be performed:
What the risks are
Coagulation (blood clotting) results from a sequence of reactions involving several proteins known as coagulation factors. Some of these factors have other names. For example, Factor I is also called fibrinogen, Factor II is prothrombin, and Factor XII is Hageman factor. The liver produces these proteins and secretes them into the blood. In addition, vitamin K is important to blood clotting because your body converts it into prothrombin.
Some people take warfarin to keep their blood from clotting. Warfarin inhibits prothrombin, thus interrupting the clotting cascade. Because of the link between vitamin K and prothrombin, people who take warfarin need to have consistent levels of vitamin K in their diet, as instructed by their doctor.
Coagulation begins when some of the coagulation factors contact damaged tissue. Each factor reaction triggers the next reaction, in a cascade. The final product of the coagulation cascade is the blood clot .
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.
Update Date: 7/31/2003Corey Cutler, M.D., M.P.H., F.R.C.P.C, Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Instructor in Medicine, Harvard University, Boston, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT