Von Willebrand's disease: clinical management

AB Federici, G Castaman, A Thompson, Erik Berntorp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (SciVal)


The aim of treatment of von Willebrand's disease (VWD) is to correct the dual defect of haemostasis, i.e. the abnormal platelet adhesion due to reduced and/or dysfunctional von Willebrand factor (VWF) and the abnormal coagulation expressed by low levels of factor VIII (FVIII). Desmopressin (DDAVP) is the treatment of choice for type 1 VWD because it can induce release of normal VWF from cellular compartments. Prospective studies on biological response versus clinical efficacy of DDAVP in VWD type 1 and 2 are in progress to further explore its benefits and limits as therapeutic option. In type 3 and in severe forms of type 1 and 2 VWD, DDAVP is not effective and for these patients plasma virally inactivated concentrates containing VWF and FVIII are the mainstay of treatment. Several intermediate- and high-purity VWF/FVIII concentrates are available and have been shown to be effective in clinical practice (bleeding and surgery). New VWF products almost devoid of FVIII are now under evaluation in clinical practice. Although thrombotic events are rare in VWD patients receiving repeated infusions of concentrates, there is some concern that sustained high FVIII levels may increase risk of postoperative venous thromboembolism. Dosage and timing of VWF/FVIII administrations should be planned to keep FVIII level between 50 and 150 U/dL. Appropriate dosage and timing in repeated infusions are also very important in patients exposed to secondary long term prophylaxis for recurrent bleedings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-158
Issue numbers3
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Hematology


  • secondary
  • long-term prophylaxis
  • efficacy and safety of concentrates
  • VIII/VWF concentrates
  • factor
  • desmopressin
  • Von Willebrand's disease
  • von Willebrand factor


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