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Blood. 1981 Jan;57(1):25-31.

Precipitating antibodies to factor VIII/von Willebrand factor in von Willebrand's disease: effects on replacement therapy.


Precipitating antibodies to factor VII/von Willebrand factor can develop in patients with severe homozygous-like von Willebrand's disease following multiple transfusions with blood derivatives. This study of 4 patients treated with cryoprecipitate for 13 different bleeding episodes demonstrates that the occurrence of such antibodies interferes with the management of the disease. The control of mucosal bleeding was poor, whereas more favorable responses were obtained in soft-tissue hemorrhages. These findings probably relate to failure of replacement therapy to shorten the prolonged bleeding time. Immediately after treatment, measurement of plasma factor VIII/von Willebrand factor-related antigen and ristocetin cofactor showed either no increase, or very low values, depending on the pre-infusion antibody titer. Levels of the factor VIII/von Willebrand factor-related procoagulant activity in the circulation were also lower than predicted and usually there was no evidence of the delayed and sustained rise typically observed in uncomplicated von Willebrand's disease. An anamnestic rise in antibody titer appeared 6-15 days after treatment and showed no obvious relationship with the amount of cryoprecipitate infused. Replacement therapy invariably caused severe side effects during, or immediately after, concentrate infusion. The results of in vitro studies support the view that these reactions were due to the appearance of circulating immune complexes.

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