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Keywords:

  • von Willebrand's disease;
  • DDAVP;
  • bleeding time;
  • dental extractions

Desmopressin (DDAVP) has gained wide acceptance as the drug of first choice in the treatment or prevention of haemorrhages in the majority of patients with von Willebrand's disease (vWd). However, data concerning the clinical effectiveness of DDAVP refer generally to mild vWd, with factor VIII and vW factor levels usually above 20% of normal. In 14 patients with type I vWd characterized by very low plasma levels of factor VIII coagulant activity (VIII:C) and vWf, measured as ristocetin cofactor activity (lower than 20% and 3% of normal respectively), but with a normal intraplatelet content of vWf, a test infusion of DDAVP (0.4 μg/kg) elicited a very marked increase of VIII:C and vWf and normalized the bleeding time. All these patients subsequently underwent tooth extraction after DDAVP infusion. The incidence of bleeding was remarkably low, with only two minor late bleeding episodes easily stopped by repeating DDAVP infusion. Compared to the cases of type 1 vWd with unknown intrapletelet vWf content reported in the literature, this subgroup of patients had a more marked, albeit short-lived, increment of VIII:C and vWf.