Von Willebrand disease: local diagnosis and management of a globally distributed bleeding disorder

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von Willebrand disease (VWD) is the most common inherited bleeding disorder and arises from deficiencies and/or defects in the plasma protein von Willebrand factor (VWF). The current report overviews the diagnosis and management of VWD as reflected by differential processes applied within centers around the world. The prevalence of VWD, as well as the frequency of different VWD types, is also reported. VWD prevalence data varies according to methodology used, with epidemiological/population screening estimates approximating 1% of the population (or 10,000 cases per million population), several orders of magnitude higher than estimates from bleeding disorders registry data or regional/center analysis (which instead range from <1 to ~450 cases per million population). Frequency of different VWD types also varies according to source and analysis, with type 1 VWD identified as the clear dominant type in most developed countries (ranging from 40% to 90% of all VWD cases), whereas type 3 VWD predominates in developing countries such as India and Iran. The frequency of qualitative (i.e., type 2) VWD also varies considerably among different reports, ranging from 3% to >50% of all VWD cases, as does the frequency of specific qualitative VWD types (i.e., 2A, 2B, 2M, and 2N). Although type 2A VWD is considered the most common form of type 2 VWD, in some reports workers consider type 2M VWD to be as, or more, common. Although not considered to be a "true" VWD, given its platelet origin, platelet-type VWD is only rarely identified. Finally, management of VWD also differs according to geographic region. Most developed countries use standard therapy, employing desmopressin (DDAVP) wherever possible, factor concentrate in other situations, and antifibrinolytic therapy as required. In contrast, the relative high cost and unavailability of factor concentrates in developing countries, and sometimes the unavailability of DDAVP, requires different management strategies to be applied.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)440-55
Number of pages16
JournalSeminars in Thrombosis and Hemostasis
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011


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