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Vitamin K Blood Test

Last updated June 4, 2019

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP


The Vitamin K Blood Test measures vitamin K levels in blood. It is also used to investigate bleeding disorders and malabsorptive disorders.

What are the other Names for this Test? (Equivalent Terms)

  • Phylloquinone Blood Test
  • Phytonadione Blood Test

What is Vitamin K Blood Test? (Background Information)

  • Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin consisting of three forms - phylloquinone, menaquinone, and menadione. One-half of the body’s vitamin K is obtained from bacteria in the intestines, and one-half is taken in through the diet. Foods rich in vitamin K include leafy green vegetables, such as spinach, mustard greens, and Swiss chard
  • Vitamin K is important for the formation of blood clots and for maintaining bone health. The blood clotting process requires many different proteins working together. Many of these proteins require vitamin K to function. Examples of such proteins include prothrombin; factors VII, IX, and X; and proteins C and S
  • In addition to its role in blood clotting, vitamin K is essential to the maintenance of bone health. It works with vitamin D in synthesizing bone protein and regulating calcium levels
  • Vitamin K1, or phylloquinone, is obtained through the diet. Vitamin K2, or menaquinone, is made by intestinal bacteria. Vitamin K3, or menadione, is the synthetic form of vitamin K; it is 2-3 times more potent than the other natural forms
  • Individuals who suffer from malabsorptive disorders, such as celiac disease and cystic fibrosis, may have difficulties in absorbing vitamin K, even though they eat foods rich in vitamin K
  • The Vitamin K Blood Test measures vitamin K levels in blood. It is used to investigate bleeding disorders and malabsorptive disorders. However, the test is rarely performed

What are the Clinical Indications for performing the Vitamin K Blood Test?

Following are the clinical indications for performing the Vitamin K Blood Test:

  • Evaluating bleeding of unknown cause
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Bruising

How is the Specimen Collected for Vitamin K Blood Test?

Following is the specimen collection process for Vitamin K Blood Test:

Sample required: Blood

Process of obtaining blood sample in adults:

  • A band is wrapped around the arm, 3-4 inches above the collection site (superficial vein that lies within the elbow pit)
  • The site is cleaned with 70% alcohol in an outward spiral, away from the zone of needle insertion
  • The needle cap is removed and is held in line with the vein, pulling the skin tight
  • With a small and quick thrust, the vein is penetrated using the needle
  • The required amount of blood sample is collected by pulling the plunger of the syringe out slowly
  • The wrap band is removed, gauze is placed on the collection site, and the needle is removed
  • The blood is immediately transferred into the blood container, which has the appropriate preservative/clot activator/anti-coagulant
  • The syringe and the needle are disposed into the appropriate “sharp container” for safe and hygienic disposal

Preparation required: No special preparation is needed prior to the test.

What is the Significance of the Vitamin K Blood Test Result?

The significance of the Vitamin K Blood Test result is explained:

Decreased vitamin K blood levels may indicate:

  • Chronic fat malabsorption
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Diarrhea in infants
  • Gastrointestinal disease
  • Hemorrhagic disease of the newborn
  • Hypoprothrombinemia
  • Liver disease
  • Obstructive jaundice
  • Pancreatic disease

The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario.

Additional and Relevant Useful Information:

  • The Vitamin K Blood Test is rarely performed. Bleeding disorders are often investigated first with the prothrombin time (PT) blood test
  • Certain factors influence the results of this test and these include diet and heredity factors

Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider of the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.

  • The prothrombin blood test is performed to determine if an individual has deficient or decreased levels of Factor II. Low levels of coagulation Factor II may indicate Vitamin K deficiency in the body

The following article link will help you understand prothrombin blood test:


Please visit our Laboratory Procedures Center for more physician-approved health information:


References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: July 10, 2015
Last updated: June 4, 2019