A family with a high incidence of venous thromboembolism was investigated. We performed medical evaluations on 184 of the 411 surviving members of the pedigree, which allowed assignment of individuals into positive, equivocal, or negative categories with respect to their clinical histories of thrombosis. Subjects with antigenic levels of protein C less than 66% of a normal plasma pool were classified as having protein C deficiency. Positive thrombotic histories were found in 13 of the 46 family members determined to be protein-C deficient and in only five of their 138 biochemically unaffected relatives. Statistical analysis of the association between thromboembolic disease and protein-C deficiency was strongly positive chi 2 = 24.95, P less than .0001 with n = 184), indicating that heterozygous protein-C deficiency is an important independent risk factor for the development of thrombotic manifestations in this pedigree. However, the absence of thromboembolic manifestations in many of the protein-C deficient family members to date indicates that other, as yet undefined, factors must play an important role in the clinical expression of this disorder.

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