• acquired von Willebrand disease

A patient with a severe bleeding tendency due to acquired von Willebrand disease (VWD) is presented. Although no underlying disorder has emerged during 6 years of follow-up, an immune-mediated mechanism was responsible for acquired VWD in this patient as demonstrated by detection of von Willebrand factor (VWF)/anti-VWF complexes in the patient's plasma and their removal by protein A–sepharose beads and resumption of normal haemostasis with correction of VWF antigen, VWF activity and VWF multimeric pattern after treatment of the patient with high-dose gammaglobulin. Detection of anti-VWF antibodies in the patient’s plasma had a significant impact on the choice of therapeutic intervention to control bleeding.