Therapeutic approaches to acquired von Willebrand syndrome

Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 2000 Feb;9(2):347-54. doi: 10.1517/13543784.9.2.347.


Acquired von Willebrand syndrome (AVWS) is a rare acquired bleeding disorder similar to the congenital von Willebrand disease (VWD) in terms of laboratory findings. Diagnosis of AVWS can be very difficult, with treatment normally taking an empirical form. Although more than 200 cases have been reported since 1968, no retrospective or prospective studies are available on AVWS. Recently, an International Registry on AVWS, gathering data directly from worldwide Departments of Haematology-Oncology and Haemophilia Centres, has been organised by a group working on behalf of the Subcommittee on VWF in the Scientific Standardisation Committee (SSC) of International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH). Information about an additional 211 AVWS patients is now available, with more detailed data on demography, type of haemorrhage, diagnostic tests for AVWS and management of bleeding episodes. The additional 211 AVWS cases are associated with lymphoproliferative (47%) or myeloproliferative (19%) disorders, cardiovascular diseases, neoplasia (7%) and other miscellaneous diseases (14%). Bleeding episodes of AVWS patients were managed by different compounds including desmopressin (22%), FVIII/VWF concentrates (26%) and high-dose immunoglobulin (10%), plasmapheresis (2%), steroids (5%) and immunosuppressive drugs (20%). Based on complied data, we can conclude that none of the therapeutic approaches proposed are 100% effective in all AVWS cases. Therefore, treatment must be customized for each patient according to the underlying disorder, as well as to the type and the severity of bleeding episode and must be targeted to each specific case.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Coagulants / therapeutic use
  • Deamino Arginine Vasopressin / therapeutic use
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous / therapeutic use
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Plasmapheresis
  • Syndrome
  • von Willebrand Diseases / diagnosis
  • von Willebrand Diseases / therapy*
  • von Willebrand Factor / therapeutic use


  • Coagulants
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • von Willebrand Factor
  • Deamino Arginine Vasopressin