American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 267–274 | Cite as

Plasma Vitamin K1 Levels in Italian Patients Receiving Oral Anticoagulant Therapy for Mechanical Heart Prosthesis: A Case–Control Study

  • Arturo CafollaEmail author
  • Alessandra Gentili
  • Clodomiro Cafolla
  • Virginia Perez
  • Erminia Baldacci
  • Daniela Pasqualetti
  • Bruna Demasi
  • Roberta Curini
Original Research Article



Oral anticoagulant therapy (OAT) with a vitamin K antagonist (VKA) is the choice of treatment for preventing thromboembolism in patients with mechanical heart valve prosthesis (MHP). The percentage of time in the therapeutic range (TTR%) expresses the OAT quality. We planned a case–control study in order to determine vitamin K1 plasmatic concentrations in MHP patients and to correlate these with TTR%.

Materials and Methods

Of 756 MHP patients receiving OAT, 125 patients (61 younger than 65 years, and 64 older than 65 years) and 120 healthy blood donors, matched for sex and age, were enrolled in the study. All subjects completed a living questionnaire regarding diet, and underwent blood collection. Vegetable and fruit intake was categorized as optimal or suboptimal, and the high-performance liquid chromatography method was used to determine vitamin K1 levels.


Neither the patients nor controls had been taking vitamin supplements prior to the start of the study. The median vitamin K1 level was 290 pg/L in 72 controls with optimal intake, and 274 pg/L in 48 controls with suboptimal intake, while the median vitamin K1 level in MHP patients with optimal intake was 409 pg/L, significantly higher (p < 0.001) than the 133.5 pg/L in patients with suboptimal intake. Vitamin K1 concentration in MHP patients appears to be linked to an age-related threshold: in patients younger than 65 years of age, the median vitamin K1 level was 431 pg/L, significantly higher (p < 0.05) than the 290 pg/L in patients older than 65 years of age. No clear relation was found between vitamin K1 levels and TTR% (Pearson = 0.14). However, patients with vitamin K1 >160 pg/L showed a TTR% >60 %. Among patients younger than 65 years, subjects with vitamin K1 >160 pg/L showed a median TTR of 66 %, this being significantly higher (p < 0.001) than the 46 % level shown by patients with vitamin K1 <160 pg/L.


Vitamin K1 concentrations in MHP patients seem to be related to both diet and age.


Dabigatran Oral Anticoagulant Therapy Optimal Intake Mechanical Heart Valve Prosthesis Suboptimal Intake 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors are extremely grateful to Mr C.J.L. Hewlett (Durham University, UK) who revised the English form of the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of interest

Arturo Cafolla, Alessandra Gentili, Clodomiro Cafolla, Virginia Perez, Erminia Baldacci, Daniela Pasqualetti, Bruna Demasiand, and Roberta Curini declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


No external funding was used in the conduct of this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arturo Cafolla
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alessandra Gentili
    • 2
  • Clodomiro Cafolla
    • 3
  • Virginia Perez
    • 2
  • Erminia Baldacci
    • 1
  • Daniela Pasqualetti
    • 4
  • Bruna Demasi
    • 4
  • Roberta Curini
    • 2
  1. 1.Hematology, Department of Cellular Biotechnology and Hematology“Sapienza” UniversitàRomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of Chemistry“Sapienza” UniversitàRomeItaly
  3. 3.Physics DepartmentDurham UniversityDurhamUK
  4. 4.ImmunohematologyPoliclinico “Umberto I”RomeItaly

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