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Laboratory diagnosis of von Willebrand disorder (vWD) and monitoring of DDAVP therapy: efficacy of the PFA-100® and vWF:CBA as combined diagnostic strategies


Dr Emmanuel J. Favaloro Department of Haematology, Institute of Clinical Pathology and Medical Research (ICPMR), Westmead Hospital, WSAHS, Westmead, NSW, 2145, Australia. Tel.: + 61 2 9845 6211; fax: + 61 2 9689 2331; e-mail:


We have coevaluated a combination of test processes for diagnosing von Willebrand disease (vWD) and monitoring deamino-δ-D-arginine vasopressin (DDAVP) therapy. Using normal controls (n=23), closure time (CT) ranges measured by PFA-100® were (mean ± 2SD): (i) collagen/ADP cartridge (C/ADP): 67–127 s (ii) collagen/epinephrine (C/Epi): 94–162 s. From a panel of 125 patients undergoing evaluation for clinical haemostatic defects, 29/30 samples from patients with vWD [17/18 type 1, 1/1 type 3, 3/3 type 2A, 7/7 type 2B and 1/1 pseudo-vWD] gave prolonged CTs using C/Epi. The C/ADP was less sensitive, being normal in 7/18 of the type 1 vWD individuals, with higher sensitivity to more severe vWD. Individuals with haemophilia (six factor VIII-deficient, one factor XI-deficient) gave normal CTs, while those with clinical thrombocytopenia (n=13) gave normal or prolonged CTs, somewhat dependent on platelet count. The PFA-100® was also evaluated as a part of the laboratory monitoring procedure in patients with either vWD or haemophilia undergoing a DDAVP trial as a therapeutic management process. For vWD, correction of an initially prolonged CT by DDAVP, accompanied by normalization of von Willebrand factor (vWF) measurable by von Willebrand factor antigen, vWF collagen binding activity and vWF ristocetin cofactor assays (vWF:Ag, vWF:CBA and vWF:RCof), was achieved in type 1 vWD (n=5). In an individual with type 2A vWD, DDAVP normalized vWF:Ag and vWF:RCof, but had no apparent effect on the baseline maximally prolonged CT. In an individual with type 2B vWD, factor VIII/vWF concentrate also normalized vWF:Ag and vWF:RCof, but similarly had no apparent effect on the baseline maximally prolonged CT. vWF:CBA did not normalize for either of these individuals, potentially suggesting that normalization of vWF:CBA might be required for normalization of CT. This concept is supported by correlation analysis undertaken between CT and various vWF parameters. Among these, vWF:CBA held the strongest relationship in our data set, which showed an inverse progressive rise in CT for falling vWF:CBA. Based on these results, we would conclude that the PFA-100® is highly sensitive to the presence of vWD, and may thus provide a valuable screening test for vWD. Furthermore, the combined utility of the PFA-100® and vWF:CBA as markers of DDAVP responsiveness may prove to be simple, quick but powerful, predictors for its clinical efficacy.