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Von Willebrand Disease in the elderly: clinical perspectives

Authors Chapin J

Received 9 May 2018

Accepted for publication 12 July 2018

Published 31 August 2018 Volume 2018:13 Pages 1531—1541

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CIA.S136931

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Andrew Yee

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker


John Chapin

Department of Hematology, Shire, Lexington, MA, USA

Abstract: Von Willebrand disease (VWD) is an inherited bleeding disorder that affects up to 1% of the population. In most cases, VWD results from a mutation in the von Willebrand Factor (VWF) gene, which alters the amount and function of VWF, a key glycoprotein in both primary and secondary hemostasis. A comprehensive analysis of patients with VWD should include VWF activity, antigen levels, platelet function, and a careful bleeding history. Treatment options include antifibrinolytics, desmopressin, and VWF replacement therapy. VWF levels fluctuate due to age, stress, environmental exposures, and pharmacologic treatment. Treatment guidelines exist to treat and prevent bleeding for patients undergoing surgery and medical procedures, but often these must be reevaluated in the setting of age-related comorbidities including cardiovascular events, venous thrombosis, and malignancy. In addition, many age-related complications are associated with a secondary acquired von Willebrand syndrome (AVWS), including malignancies, hypothyroidism, cardiovascular diseases, and cardiac replacement devices. The current literature is limited by a lack of older patients in clinical trials. Larger studies are needed to determine if age-related comorbidities affect VWD patients at different frequencies than the general elderly population. There is also a significant need for registry-based studies to evaluate many age-related comorbidities in VWD patients.

Keywords: von Willebrand disease, acquired von Willebrand syndrome, bleeding disorders, aging

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