• anticoagulation;
  • vitamin K;
  • warfarin;
  • drug monitoring

We investigated the association of vitamin K status with warfarin sensitivity among 40 orthopaedic patients beginning perioperative algorithm-dosed warfarin. Baseline vitamin K status was assessed using plasma vitamin K-1 and vitamin K-1 2,3 epoxide concentrations, and a questionnaire-based estimation of usual vitamin K intake. Warfarin sensitivity was assessed as the increase in the International Normalized Ratio (INR) after two doses of 5 mg of warfarin and as the 4-d accumulation of under-γ-carboxylated prothrombin (PIVKA-II), adjusted for warfarin dose requirement. Multivariate models were used to assess vitamin K variables as predictors of warfarin sensitivity. The mean INR increase was 0·53 U and the mean PIVKA-II increase was 771 ng/ml/mg warfarin. Demographic factors were not associated with warfarin response. For each 1 standard deviation (SD) lower value of plasma vitamin K-1, but not the other vitamin K variables, the INR rose 0·24 U (P ≤ 0·01). A higher usual vitamin K intake and plasma vitamin K-1, and lower plasma vitamin K-1 2,3 epoxide, were all associated with a lower PIVKA-II increase over 4 d. Respective differences in PIVKA-II accumulation per SD increase of each variable were −165, −218 and 236 ng/ml/mg warfarin (all P ≤ 0·05). We concluded that dietary and biochemical measures of vitamin K status were associated with early warfarin sensitivity.