The evolution and value of bleeding assessment tools


Paula D. James, Division of Hematology, Department of Medicine, Room 2025, Etherington Hall, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada K7L 3N6.
Tel.: +613 533 2946; fax: +613 533 6855.


Summary.  A personal history of excessive mucocutaneous bleeding is a key component in the diagnosis of a number of mild bleeding disorders, including von Willebrand disease (VWD), platelet function disorders (PFD), and coagulation factor deficiencies. However, the evaluation of hemorrhagic symptoms is a well-recognized challenge for both patients and physicians, because the reporting and interpretation of bleeding symptoms is subjective. As a result, bleeding assessment tools (BATs) have been developed and studied in a variety of clinical settings. This work has been pioneered by a group of Italian researchers, and the resultant ‘Vicenza Bleeding Questionnaire’ stands as the original BAT. In this review, we will discuss the modifications of the Vicenza Bleeding Questionnaire that have taken place over the years, as well as the validation studies that have been published. Other BATs that have been developed and published will be reviewed, as will the special situations of assessing pediatric bleeding as well as menorrhagia. Lastly, the clinical utility of BATs will be discussed including remaining challenges and future directions for the field.