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Ski champ Kikkan Randall faces a genetic threat

Mon, Apr  14, 2008 - By George Bryson

The mysterious blood clot that two weeks ago threatened the life of World Cup champion skier Kikkan Randall of Anchorage may be hereditary, doctors reported.

Tests of Randall's DNA -- a precautionary step while being treated for a large clot in a major vein in her left leg -- indicate the 25-year-old Olympic athlete has Factor V Leiden, or FVL, a genetic disorder that increases the risk of dangerous clotting in the blood system.

While the condition is not rare -- 5 percent of white Americans carry at least one of the defective genes -- it is serious, placing people with the most common form of FVL at seven times the risk for developing a life-threatening clot known as deep vein thrombosis, or DVT.

Randall underwent surgery for DVT in Anchorage last week to remove the residue of a clot before it could break loose and float to her lungs, resulting in a pulmonary embolism, a sometimes fatal blockage. Women with FVL also run a higher risk of clotting during pregnancy and miscarriage.

See the entire article in the Anvhorage Daily News at http://www.adn.com/outdoors/skiing/story/372495.html