Clinical decision-making for vitamin K-1 and K-2 deficiency and coronary artery calcification with warfarin therapy: are diet, factor Xa inhibitors or both the answer?

September 20, 2017

Medical Condition:

Heart Disease


Diet Therapy

Case Management:

Coronary artery calcification is a recognised risk factor for ischaemic heart disease and mortality. Evidence is now strong that Mönckeberg's arteriosclerosis, a form of vascular calcification, can be attributable to vitamin K deficiency, but that vitamin K-2, especially the MK-4 form from foods like cheese can be protective. Warfarin blocks the recycling of hepatic and peripheral vitamin K leading to secondary vitamin K deficiency with adverse effects on vasculature, bone, kidneys, brain and other tissues and systems (inflammatory, immune function and neoplasia at least). There is individual susceptibility to vitamin K deficiency and warfarin sensitivity, partly explicable in terms of genetic polymorphisms, epigenetics, diet and pharmacotherapy. The emergence of extensive coronary calcification in a man with atrial fibrillation treated for a decade with warfarin is described by way of illustration and to raise the present clinical management conundrums. Finally, a putative set of recommendations is provided.

Author Name:

Mark L Wahlqvist


PMID: 24066371

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