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Keywords:

  • von Willebrand's disease;
  • diagnosis;
  • von Willebrand factor antigen;
  • von Willebrand factor ristocetin cofactor;
  • F VIII

Abstract

By providing some examples of variations in the levels of von Willebrand factor antigen (vWF : Ag), ristocetin cofactor, and Factor VIII during one month, the authors wish to emphasize the difficulty of diagnosing mild forms of von Willebrand's disease (vWD), especially type I. In three of 15 normal female volunteers the vWF : Ag levels, on some sampling occasions, were so low (0.25–0.30 IU/mL, normal > 0.50 IU/mL) that the diagnosis of vWD type I might be made while on other occasions normal levels were obtained. The coefficients of variation (CV) for vWF : Ag in these three women were 12%, 25%, and 43%. However, CVs of similar magnitude were also observed for “non-diseased” males and females. The ratio F VIII/vWF : Ag also varied greatly. In the three women with suspected vWD it was 36%, 15%, and 34%. A representative level for the entire cycle of vWF : Ag and ristocetin cofactor seems to have been obtained in the follicular phase and therefore it is suggested that in order to make the diagnosis of vWD type I, at least in females, blood samples should be taken in this phase. © 1992 Wiley-Liss, Inc.