RESEARCH SUPPORT, U.S. GOV'T, P.H.S.
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The prevalence of vitamin K deficiency in chronic gastrointestinal disorders.

Vitamin K deficiency results in the appearance of abnormal prothrombin, deficient in gamma-carboxyglutamic acid, in the blood. The presence of abnormal prothrombin can be eliminated or lowered by the administration of vitamin K. Since the abnormal prothrombin antigen assay is approximately 1000-fold more sensitive than the prothrombin time for the diagnosis of vitamin K deficiency, this assay was used to evaluate patients with intestinal abnormalities. Vitamin K deficiency was found in 18 of 58 patients (31%) with chronic gastrointestinal disease and/or resection. All patients with vitamin K deficiency had either Crohn's disease involving the ileum or ulcerative colitis treated with sulfasalazine or antibiotics. Abnormal prothrombin levels returned toward normal in patients treated with vitamin K but not in patients who were not treated with vitamin K. The mean plasma vitamin E level in patients with vitamin K deficiency was significantly lower than in vitamin-K sufficient patients (p less than 0.01). We conclude that certain chronic forms of gastrointestinal disorders are associated with vitamin K deficiency.

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