Translating the success of prophylaxis in haemophilia to von Willebrand disease

Wolfgang Miesbach, Erik Berntorp

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Introduction: There is limited awareness of von Willebrand disease (VWD), leading to challenges in both diagnosis and defining the optimal treatment approach for these patients. Patients with VWD are typically treated on-demand, with short-term prophylaxis used during surgery. In contrast, early initiation, and long-term use of prophylaxis is the standard of care in patients with severe haemophilia and can be successfully used to prevent joint bleeding and reduce chronic arthropathy. Aim: To provide an understanding of the current evidence for the prophylactic treatment of patients with VWD and compare this to the management of patients with haemophilia. Methods: Review of published literature using a non-systematic search of PubMed and reference lists of sourced articles. Results: The successes seen with prophylaxis in haemophilia provide the rationale for long-term prophylaxis in patients with severe forms of VWD; preventing spontaneous, excessive and sometimes life-threatening bleeding, and reducing chronic joint disease. Currently, there are a few clinical trials assessing the long-term benefits of prophylaxis in VWD, and guidelines for the optimal prophylaxis treatment approach are lacking. Greater attempts to provide comprehensive, long-term care for patients with VWD are needed but still lacking within the community. This review highlights the success of prophylaxis in haemophilia and how this knowledge might be applied and translated to patients with VWD. Conclusions: Lessons can be learned from the use of prophylaxis in haemophilia and prophylaxis should be considered the standard of care for a subgroup of patients with severe VWD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-74
Number of pages8
JournalThrombosis Research
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Hematology


  • Blood coagulation disorder, inherited
  • Haematologic diseases
  • Haemophilia
  • Prophylaxis
  • von Willebrand disease


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