During the past five years much has been written about vitamin K, and in many previous publications the causes of hypoprothrombinemia have been reiterated.1
It is not the purpose of this paper to review those causes but rather to present additional evidence to support the belief that the results of the prothrombin test are helpful in making an accurate diagnosis in the jaundiced patient. Also, in many instances a rough estimation of the extent of liver dysfunction can be determined. In addition, the results of the prothrombin test in 36 patients with intestinal dysfunction are presented to give further support to previous conclusions2 that hypoprothrombinemia develops owing to lack of adequate food, loss of bile from the intestinal tract or a combination of the two.
The prothrombin test was carried out on 120 patients, most of whom had hypoprothrombinemia. The method employed was the one described by Quick,