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Characterization, classification, and treatment of von Willebrand diseases: a critical appraisal of the literature and personal experiences

Jan Jacques Michiels, Alain Gadisseur, Ulrich Budde, Zwi Berneman, Marc van der Planken, Wilfried Schroyens, Ann van de Velde, Huub van Vliet
Seminars in Thrombosis and Hemostasis 2005, 31 (5): 577-601
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Recessive type 3 von Willebrand disease (vWD) is a severe hemophilia-like bleeding disorder caused by homozygosity or double heterozygosity for two nonsense mutations (null alleles) and characterized by a strongly prolonged bleeding time (BT), absence of ristocetin-induced platelet aggregation (RIPA), absence of von Willebrand factor (vWF) protein, and prolonged activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT) due to factor VIII (FVIIIC): deficiency. Recessive severe type 1 vWD is caused by homozygosity or double heterozygosity for a missense mutation and differs from type 3 vWD by the detectable presence vWF:antigen (Ag) and FVIII:C levels between 0.09 and 0.40 U/mL. Carriers of one null allele or missense mutations are usually asymptomatic at vWF levels of 50% of normal. Mild recessive type 1 vWD may be due to a missense mutations, or one missense mutation plus blood group O. The so-called dominant type 1 vWD secretion defect and type 1 Vicenza are caused by a heterozygous missense mutation in the vWF gene that produces a mutant vWF protein having a dominant effect on the normal vWF protein produced by the normal vWF allele with regard to the defective processing, storage secretion, and/or proteolysis of vWF in endothelial cells and clearing from plasma consistent with a type 2 phenotype of vWD. Typical type 2 vWD patients, except 2N, show a defective vWF protein, decreased ratios for vWF:ristocetin cofactor [vWF:RCo]/vWF:Ag and vWF:collagen binding factor [vWF:CB]/vWF:Ag and prolonged BT. The BT is normal and FVIII:C levels clearly are lower than vWF:Ag in type 2N vWD. Multimeric analysis of vWF in plasma demonstrates that proteolysis of vWF is increased in type 2A and 2B vWD, with increased triplet structure of each band (not present in types 2M and 2U). Proteolysis of vWF is minimal in type 2C, 2D, and 2E variants that show aberrant multimeric structure of individual oligomers. vWD 2B differs from 2A by normal vWF in platelets, and increased RIPA. RIPA is normal in mild, decreased in moderate, and absent in severe type 2A vWD. RIPA is decreased or absent in 2M, 2U, 2C, and 2D; variable in 2E; and normal in 2N and dominant type 1. vWD 2M is usually mild and features decreased vWF:RCo and RIPA, and a normal or near-normal vWF multimeric pattern in a low-resolution agarose gel. vWD 2A-like or unclassifiable (2U) is distinct from 2A and 2B and typically features low vWF:RCo and RIPA with the relative lack of large vWF multimers. vWD type 2C is recessive; the dominant type 2D is rare. The response to desmopressin acetate (DDAVP) of vWF parameters is normal in pseudo-vWD and mild type 1. The responses to DDAVP of FVIII:C and vWF parameters in vWD 2M, Vincenza, 2E, and mild 2A, 2U, and 2N are transiently good for a variable number of hours to arrest mucocutaneous bleeding episodes or to prevent bleeding during minor surgery or trauma. However, the responses are not good enough to treat major bleedings or to prevent bleeding during major surgery or trauma. The response to DDAVP of vWF parameters is poor in recessive type 3, 1 and 2C, and dominant 2A, 2B, and 2U. Proper recommendations of FVIII/vWF concentrates using FVIII:C and vWF:RCo unit dosing for the prophylaxis and treatment of bleeding episodes in type 2 disease that is nonresponsive to DDAVP and in type 3 vWD are proposed.

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