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Clinical usefulness of desmopressin for prevention of surgical bleeding in patients with symptomatic heterozygous factor XI deficiency.

Heterozygous factor XI (FXI) deficiency is sometimes associated with a significant bleeding tendency. Fresh frozen plasma of FXI concentrates are the mainstay of treatment in patients with a clear bleeding history, especially prior to surgery. However, these treatments are not completely free of risk. Furthermore, thrombosis has been reported in patients with FXI deficiency infused with FXI concentrate. No data are available on the possible efficacy of desmopressin in these patients. Two patients with a clear bleeding history associated with FXI deficiency and no additional haemostatic defects agreed to be treated with desmopressin before carpal tunnel surgery and dental extraction. The reduced basal FXI activity and antigen levels slightly increased after infusion, reaching borderline values. No bleeding was observed after surgical procedures. Desmopressin treatment seems a reasonable and useful choice in symptomatic, heterozygous FXI-deficient patients, thus reducing the cost of treatment, the risk of transmission of blood-borne viruses, and of thrombosis.

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