Treatment of von Willebrand's disease

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von Willebrand's disease is the most frequent of inherited bleeding disorders (1:100 affected individuals in the general population). The aim of therapy is to correct the dual defects of haemostasis, i.e. abnormal coagulation expressed by low levels of factor VIII and abnormal platelet adhesion expressed by a prolonged bleeding time. There are two main options available for the management of von Willebrand's disease: desmopressin and transfusion therapy with blood products. Desmopressin is the treatment of choice in patients with Type 1 von Willebrand's disease, who account for approximately 80% of cases. The pharmacological compound raises endogenous factor VIII and von Willebrand factor and corrects the prolonged bleeding time in most patients. In Type 3 and in the majority of Type 2 patients, desmopressin is not effective and it is necessary to resort to plasma concentrates containing factor VIII and yon Willebrand factor. Treated with virucidal methods, these concentrates are currently effective and quite safe, even though the bleeding time defect is not always corrected by them. Platelet concentrates or desmopressin can be used as adjunctive treatments when poor correction of the Bleeding time is associated with continued bleeding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-132
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Internal Medicine, Supplement
Issue number740
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • Desmopressin
  • Factor VIII
  • Haemophilia
  • Von Willebrand factor
  • von Willebrand's disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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