• endometrial ablation;
  • gynaecological complications;
  • menorrhagia;
  • quality of life;
  • von Willebrand disease

Summary.  Background:  Endometrial ablation has recently gained popularity as a treatment of menorrhagia in the general population. In the von Willebrand disease (VWD) patient, intuitively, it would appear that the failure rate would be higher because of the underlying hypocoaguability increasing the likelihood for re-bleeding. In a consecutive series of seven patients, we assessed the efficacy and safety of endometrial ablation in VWD-related menorrhagia.

Patients and methods:  We performed a retrospective analysis using chart review and a 21-item questionnaire administered to seven (six type 1, one type 2A) women who underwent endometrial ablation between the years 1997 and 2001. Parameters assessed included operative complications, the development of abdominal pains, recurrence of menstrual bleeding post-ablation and the change in the pre-/post-ablation quality of life (QOL). Three patients underwent endomyometrial resection and one each underwent rollerball, thermal, electrocautery and balloon ablation. All patients were pre-treated with i.v. desmopressin (DDAVP) except the 2A patient who received Humate P. Mean age of the patient was 41 ± 6 years and follow-up was for 45 months (range 31–73) post-ablation.

Results:  No significant perioperative bleeding complications were observed in any of the patients. All patients initially responded (two amenorrhoea, four hypomenorrhoea, one moderate improvement). In all patients, QOL assessed by 10 parameters improved significantly following the ablation procedure, regardless of the specific technique used. However, at the end of follow-up, only one patient remained amenorrheic, one was hypomenorrheic, one had moderate improvement and four patients experienced recurrence of menorrhagia, three eventually requiring a hysterectomy at a median of 11 months post-ablation.

Conclusion:  Endometrial ablation appears to be a safe procedure that improves the QOL in patients with VWD-related menorrhagia. However, its long-term efficacy appears to be lower in VWD patients when compared with women with menorrhagia without VWD.