In recent years four mutations causing factor XI deficiency have been identified in Jews of Ashkenazi (European) origin. Two of them, type II (a nonsense mutation) and type III (a missense mutation), were found to prevail among 125 unrelated Ashkenazi Jews with severe factor XI deficiency. A finding of type II mutation in four unrelated Iraqi- Jewish families raised the possibility that this mutation is also common in Iraqi Jews, who represent the ancient gene pool of the Jews. A molecular-based analysis performed in 1,040 consecutively hospitalized patients disclosed the following results: Among 531 Ashkenazi-Jewish patients, the type II allele frequency was 0.0217 and among 509 Iraqi-Jewish patients, 0.0167 (P = .50). The type III allele frequency in the Ashkenazi-Jewish patients was 0.0254, whereas none of 502 Iraqi-Jewish patients examined had this mutation. These data suggest that the type II mutation was present in Jews already 2.5 millenia ago. The data also indicate that the estimated risk for severe factor XI deficiency in Ashkenazi Jews (due to either genotype) is 0.22% and in Iraqi Jews, 0.03%, and that the estimated risk of heterozygosity in Ashkenazi Jews is 9.0% and in Iraqi Jews, 3.3%. As patients with severe factor XI deficiency are prone to bleeding after injury and patients with partial deficiency may have similar bleeding complications when an additional hemostatic derangement is present, the observed high frequencies should be borne in mind when surgery is planned for individuals belonging to these populations.

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