American Society for Clinical Pathology

View all recommendations from this society

Released February 3, 2015

Don’t test vitamin K levels unless the patient has an abnormal international normalized ratio (INR) and does not respond to vitamin K therapy.

Measurements of the level of vitamin K in the blood are rarely used to determine if a deficiency exists. Vitamin K deficiency is very rare, but when it does occur, a prolonged prothrombin time (PT) and elevated INR will result. A diagnosis is typically made by observing the PT correction following administration of vitamin K, plus the presence of clinical risk factors for vitamin K deficiency.


These items are provided solely for informational purposes and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their physician.

How The List Was Created

1-5: The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) list was developed under the leadership of the chair of ASCP’s Institute Advisory Committee and Past President of ASCP. Subject matter and test utilization experts across the fields of pathology and laboratory medicine were included in this process for their expertise and guidance. The review panel examined hundreds of options based on both the practice of pathology and evidence available through an extensive review of the literature. The laboratory tests targeted in our recommendations were selected because they are tests that are performed frequently; there is evidence that the test either offers no benefit or is harmful; use of the test is costly and it does not provide higher quality care; and, eliminating it or changing to another test is within the control of the clinician. The final list is not exhaustive (many other tests/procedures were also identified and were also worthy of consideration), but the recommendations, if instituted, would result in higher quality care, lower costs, and more effective use of our laboratory resources and personnel.

6–10: The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) list of recommendations was developed under the leadership of the ASCP Choosing Wisely Ad Hoc Committee. This committee is chaired by an ASCP Past President and is comprised of subject matter and test utilization experts across the fields of pathology and laboratory medicine. The committee considered an initial list of possible recommendations compiled as the result of a survey administered to Society members serving on ASCP’s many commissions, committees and councils. The laboratory tests targeted in our recommendations were selected because they are tests that are performed frequently; there is evidence that the test either offers no benefit or is harmful; use of the test is costly and it does not provide higher quality care; and eliminating it or changing to another test is within the control of the clinician. Implementation of these recommendations will result in higher quality care, lower costs and a more effective use of our laboratory resources and personnel.

11–15: The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) list of recommendations was developed under the leadership of the ASCP Effective Test Utilization Subcommittee. This committee is chaired by an ASCP Past President and comprises subject matter and test utilization experts across the fields of pathology and laboratory medicine. The committee considered an initial list of possible recommendations compiled as the result of a survey administered to Society members serving on ASCP’s many commissions, committees, and councils. The laboratory tests targeted in our recommendations were selected because they are tests that are performed frequently; there is evidence that the test either offers no benefit or is harmful (either entirely or in specific clinical situations); use of the test is costly and it does not provide higher quality care; and eliminating it or changing to another test is within the control of the clinician. Implementation of these recommendations will result in higher quality care, lower costs, and a more effective use of our laboratory resources and personnel.

 

ASCP’s disclosure and conflict of interest policy can be found at www.ascp.org.

Sources

Suttie JW. Vitamin K. In: Machlin L, ed. Handbook of Vitamins. New York( NY): Marcel Dekker; 1984:147.

Van Winckel M, De Bruyne R, Van De Velde S, Van Biervliet S. Vitamin K, an update for the paediatrician. Eur J Pediatr. 2009 Feb;168(2):127-34.

Shearer MJ. Vitamin K deficiency bleeding (VKDB) in early infancy. Blood Rev. 2009 Mar;23(2):49-59.

Van Hasselt PM, de Koning TJ, Kvist N, de Vries E, Lundin CR, Berger R, Kimpen JL, Houwen RH, Jorgensen MH, Verkade HJ; Netherlands Study Group for Biliary Atresia Registry. Prevention of vitamin K deficiency bleeding in breastfed infants: lessons from the Dutch and Danish biliary atresia registries. Pediatrics. 2008 Apr;121(4):e857-63.

Booth SL, Al Rajabi A. Determinants of vitamin K status in humans. Vitam Horm. 2008;78:1-22.

Krasinski SD, Russell RM, Furie BC, Kriger SF, Jacques PF, Furie B. The prevalence of vitamin K deficiency in chronic gastrointestinal disorders. Am J Clin Nutr. 1985 Mar;41(3):639-43.

Shearer MJ, Fux, Booth SL. Vitamin K nutrition, metabolism, and requirement: current concept and future research. Adv Nutr. 2012 Mar;3(2):182-95.

Liebman HA, Furie BC, Tong MJ, Blanchard RA, Lo KJ, Lee SD, Coleman MS, Furie B. Des-gamma-carboxy (abnormal) prothrombin as a serum marker of primary hepatocellular carcinoma. N Engl J Med. 1984 May 31;310(22):1427-31.