JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Frequency of inherited bleeding disorders in women with menorrhagia.

Lancet 1998 Februrary 15
BACKGROUND: Although menorrhagia is a common gynaecological symptom, a specific cause is identified in less than 50% of affected women. We investigated the frequency of inherited bleeding disorders in women with menorrhagia.

METHODS: Women referred for investigation of menorrhagia whose pelvis was normal on clinical examination and who had an estimated menstrual blood loss of more than 80 mL were studied. A detailed menstrual history and history about other bleeding symptoms was taken. The activated partial thromboplastin time, factor VIII activity, von-Willebrand-factor antigen and activity, and factor XI (FXI) were measured in all patients; further tests were done when results were at or outside the limits of the assays.

FINDINGS: 150 women were screened. An inherited bleeding disorder was diagnosed in 26 (17%) patients: the disorders were von Willebrand's disease of mild (15) or moderate severity (three), mild FXI deficiency (four), mild von Willebrand's disease and FXI deficiency (one), combined von Willebrand's disease, FXI deficiency, and factor X deficiency (one), carriage of haemophilia-A gene (one), and platelet dysfunction (one). The frequency of von Willebrand's disease and FXI deficiency were 13% (95% CI 7.9-18.8%) and 4% (1.5-8.5%), respectively. Menorrhagia since menarche was noted in 11 (8.9%) of 123 women without a bleeding disorder compared with 13 (65%) of 20 women with von Willebrand's disease (p=0.001) and four (66.7%) of six women with FXI deficiency (p<0.001).

INTERPRETATION: Inherited bleeding disorders are found in a substantial proportion of women with menorrhagia and a normal pelvis examination. We suggest that such patients should be investigated for these disorders-especially von Willebrand's disease-before invasive procedures are done.

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