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Am J Hematol. 2007 May;82(5):363-7.

Association of acquired von Willebrand syndrome with AL amyloidosis.

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Department of Medicine, Boston University Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Acquired loss of functional von Willebrand factor (VWF) has been termed the acquired von Willebrand syndrome (AVWS). AVWS is a rare adult-onset bleeding diathesis that is clinically similar to congenital von Willebrand disease (VWD), and occurs with a variety of autoimmune, lymphoproliferative, or myeloproliferative disorders. We have identified four patients with AVWS in association with immunoglobulin light chain (AL) amyloidosis. These patients, lacking any pre-existing or family history of abnormal bleeding, developed cutaneous, mucosal, or gastrointestinal bleeding in the course of their disease without deficiency of clotting factor X or other factors; the activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT) was prolonged in three out of the four cases. Despite normal VWF antigen levels, VWF ristocetin cofactor activity (VWF:RCo) was low. Electrophoresis patterns of high molecular weight (HMW) VWF multimers were abnormal in two of the four cases. Two of the patients were treated with high-dose intravenous melphalan followed by autologous stem cell transplantation (HDM/SCT) and achieved hematologic remission. In these two patients, the bleeding diathesis improved and the coagulation parameters normalized, confirming a causal relationship between the plasma cell dyscrasia and the AVWS. AVWS should be considered in AL amyloidosis patients with hemorrhagic diatheses and normal clotting factor levels.

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