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Ann Hematol. 1999 Sep;78(9):426-30.

The platelet function analyzer (PFA-100) may not be suitable for monitoring the therapeutic efficiency of von willebrand concentrate in type III von willebrand disease.

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  • 1Laboratory of Hematology and Hemostasis, Antwerp University Hospital (UZA), Wilrijkstraat 10, 2650 Edegem, Belgium.


We describe a type-III von Willebrand patient who was admitted to the hospital with severe deformity and functional deficit of the left knee joint due to recurrent hemarthrosis. Orthopedic intervention was necessary. To prevent bleeding episodes, von Willebrand factor (vWF) replacement therapy was given during and after surgery. APTT, plasma FVIII activity (FVIIIc), vWF antigen (vWF Ag), and vWF ristocetin cofactor (vWF Rco) were measured. Primary hemostasis was monitored using the PFA-100. This "Platelet Function Analyzer" is designed to measure platelet adhesion and aggregation capacities. Whole blood is aspirated through a capillary and is forced to flow through the central hole of a membrane coated with collagen and epinephrine (COL/EPI) or ADP (COL/ADP) as platelet activators. Irreversible platelet aggregation results in the formation of a stable platelet plug, closing the central hole. The result is expressed as "closure time" (CT), i.e., time necessary to stop the blood flow, and is a measure of platelet hemostasis capacity. Laboratory investigations during substitution therapy revealed no shortening of closure times with both COL/EPI and COL/ADP cartridges despite normalization of plasma vWF Ag, vWF Rco, and FVIIIc levels. These observations suggest that intraplatelet vWF, which is totally absent in type-III von Willebrand disease, plays an important function in the adhesion of platelets to the collagen-coated membrane of the PFA-100 system, simulating an injured vessel wall. Consequently, we conclude that the PFA-100 may not be suitable for monitoring the therapeutic efficacy of von Willebrand concentrate in type-III von Willebrand patients during substitution therapy.

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