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Hamostaseologie. 2004 Feb;24(1):50-5.

Acquired von Willebrand syndrome 2004: International Registry--diagnosis and management from online to bedside.

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  • 1Angelo Bianchi Bonomi Hemophilia and Thrombosis Center, Department of Internal Medicine and Dermatology, IRCCS Maggiore Hospital and University of Milan, Via Pace 9, 20122 Milano, Italy.


The acquired von Willebrand syndrome (AVWS) is a rare bleeding disorder with laboratory findings similar to those for congenital von Willebrand disease. Unlike the congenital form, AVWS usually occurs in individuals with no personal or family history of bleeding. Large studies on AVWS are not available, diagnosis remains difficult and treatment empirical. Acquired von Willebrand syndrome is especially frequent in lympho- or myeloproliferative disorders. It is associated with solid tumours, immunological and cardiovascular disorders as well as other miscellaneous conditions. Diagnosis of AVWS is based on assays measuring ristocetin cofactor activity or collagen binding, which are usually abnormally low, while factor VIII coagulant activity is some-times within the reference range. FVIII/VWF inhibiting activities are found in only a minority of cases. Bleeding episodes in patients with AVWS are mostly of the mucocutaneous type and can be managed with desmopressin, plasma-derived factor VIII/von Willebrand factor (FVIII/VWF) concentrates and intravenous immunoglobulin. Recombinant activated factor VII can be useful in cases unresponsive to standard therapy. In conclusion, the AVWS, although rare, is certainly underestimated in clinical practice: The actual clinical impact of AVWS should be evaluated by prospective studies. The authors are co-ordinating an updated version of the International Registry on AVWS that will allow data to be entered directly online.

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