Acquired Von Willebrand's Disease
Acquired von Willebrand's disease is a rare bleeding disorder that tends to occur in older adults. It prevents blood from clotting properly. It is rarer than the inherited form of von Willebrand's disease.
Researchers believe acquired von Willebrand's disease may be caused by an autoimmune disorder, in which the body's own immune system attacks the blood system. Exactly what triggers acquired von Willebrand's disease is not known. A genetic factor may increase the risk of developing it.
Testing often reveals that people who have acquired von Willebrand's disease also have one of the following conditions:
- Lymph disorders, such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
- Plasma disorders, such as multiple myeloma
- Bone marrow disorders, such as polycythemia vera
- Solid tumors, such as Wilms' tumor (a fast-growing kidney tumor) and lung cancer
- Autoimmune diseases , such as systemic lupus erythematosus
Acquired von Willebrand's disease may also develop in direct association with use of certain medicines. When use is discontinued, signs of the disease also end. These medicines include:
- Valproic acid.
Symptoms include nosebleeds with no previous history of bleeding abnormalities.
Treatment of acquired von Willebrand's disease includes medicines that help your body have enough von Willebrand clotting factor in the blood. This von Willebrand factor helps your blood clot.
Other Works Consulted
- Kessler CM (2008). Hereditary von Willebrand's disease section of Hemorrhagic disorders: Coagulation factor deficiencies. In L Goldman, D Ausiello, eds., Cecil Textbook of Medicine, 23rd ed., pp. 1308–1311. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (2007). The Diagnosis, Evaluation, and Management of von Willebrand Disease. (NIH Publication No. 08–5832). Available online: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/vwd.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Brian Leber, MDCM, FRCPC - Hematology|
|Last Revised||November 22, 2010|
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