Clinical significance of inhibitors in acquired von Willebrand syndrome.Blood. 1998 May 15; 91(10):3623-9.Blood
Of 260 patients enrolled, 25 patients (9.6%) were associated with acquired von Willebrand syndrome (AvWS). We studied 25 patients with AvWS, retrospectively. AvWS was diagnosed by reduced levels of von Willebrand factor (vWF) (decrease of von Willebrand factor antigen [vWF:Ag] and von Willebrand ristocetin cofactor [vWF:RCoF]), a decrease of ristocetin-induced platelet agglutination (RIPA), sometimes decreased high-molecular-weight multimers, and prolonged bleeding time with neither prior nor family histories of bleeding problems and the evidence of normal vWF:RCoF in their families. The inhibitor of vWF was determined by mixing patient plasma with pooled normal plasma. Eight patients in this study had the inhibitors to vWF that were of the IgG class; the subclasses were IgG1 (7 cases) and IgG2 (1 case). Multimeric analysis of vWF showed selective loss of large multimers in most patients with AvWS similar to that of congenital type-2 von Willebrand disease (vWD). All inhibitors blocked ristocetin-mediated vWF binding to platelets. Five out of 6 IgGs evaluated here recognized the 39/34-kD fragment (residues 480/481-718) and Fragment III (residues 1-1365) that implied binding domain of glycoprotein Ib (GPIb), whereas 1 recognized Fragment I (residues 911-1365). A close relationship was found between the presence of the inhibitor and bleeding tendency. Of the 7 patients with inhibitors, 6 patients (86%) had a bleeding tendency, as well as 1 of the 15 patients without inhibitors (6%). The efficacy of treatment of underlying diseases and/or therapy with deamino D-arginine vasopressin (DDAVP) for the treatment of AvWS also depends on the presence of an inhibitor. Four of 8 patients with inhibitors (50%) had poor response to treatment of the underlying disease and/or therapy with DDAVP, as well as 1 of the 16 patients without inhibitors (6%). These results indicate that patients with AvWS developing inhibitors to vWF are likely to have bleeding problems and might be resistant to treatment of underlying diseases and/or therapy with DDAVP for bleeding to AvWS. We also showed evidence that intravenous immunoglobulin therapy (0.3 g/kg, 3 days) was effective to correct a hemostatic defect and manage severe bleeding in a patient with AvWS developing inhibitors. We might consider an additional treatment including expensive high-dose immunoglobulin therapy when uncontrollable bleeding is continued after the treatment of the underlying diseases and/or therapy with DDAVP.