Surgical management of patients with von Willebrand Disease: summary of 2 systematic reviews of the literature

Blood Adv. 2021 Oct 15;bloodadvances.2021005666. doi: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2021005666. Online ahead of print.


Von Willebrand disease (VWD) is the most common inherited bleeding disorder. The management of patients with VWD undergoing surgeries is crucial to prevent bleeding complications. To systematically summarize the evidence on the management of patients with VWD undergoing major and minor surgeries to support the development of practice guidelines. We searched Medline and EMBASE through October 2019 for randomized clinical trials (RCTs), comparative observational studies and case series comparing maintaining factor VIII levels or VWF levels >0.50 IU/mL for at least 3 days in patients undergoing major surgery, and options for perioperative management of patients undergoing minor surgery. Two authors screened, abstracted data, and assessed the risk of bias. We conducted meta-analysis when possible. We evaluated the certainty of the evidence using the GRADE approach. We included 7 case series for major surgeries and 2 RCTs and 12 case series for minor surgeries. Very low certainty evidence showed that maintaining factor VIII levels, or VWF levels > 0.50 IU/mL for at least 3 consecutive days showed excellent hemostatic efficacy (as labeled by the researchers) after 74-100% of major surgeries. Low to very low certainty evidence showed that prescribing tranexamic acid and increasing VWF levels to 0.50 IU/mL resulted in less bleeding complications after minor procedures compared to increasing VWF levels to 0.50 IU/mL alone. Given the low-quality evidence to guide management decisions, a shared-decision model leading to individualized therapy plans will be important in patients with VWD undergoing surgical and invasive procedures.