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Management of acquired von Willebrand's sryndrome in a patient requiring major surgery


Dr Jamie Maddox, Department of Haematology, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee DD1 9SY, UK.
Tel.: +44 1382 660111; fax: +44 1382 633967;


Summary.  We present the case of a patient with acquired von Willebrand's syndrome and a monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance who required cystectomy for relapsed transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) of the bladder. We demonstrated that infused von Willebrand factor (VWF) containing factor VIII concentrates had an unacceptably short half-life, but that this was significantly prolonged following combined therapy with plasma exchange and intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIgG). This approach was successfully utilized peri-operatively, with the total surgical blood loss less than would be expected even for a haemostatically normal patient. Trough VWF antigen and Ristocetin co-factor activity levels fell on the second postoperative day and we therefore administered further IVIgG. Levels again fell on the fifth postoperative day with the development of a Staphylococcus aureus septicaemia. At this point bleeding occurred from a surgical drain site requiring ‘factor VIII inhibitor bypass activity’ to secure haemostasis while further plasma exchange and IVIgG were administered. Now 5 years later, there is no evidence of recurrence of the TCC or progression of the monoclonal gammopathy.