Current approaches to diagnostic testing in von Willebrand Disease


      Von Willebrand Disease (VWD) is considered the most common inherited bleeding disorder. It has multiple subtypes and a primary symptom of mucocutaneous bleeding. Some researchers in this field speculate that inherited disorders of platelet function may be as common but underdiagnosed due to the difficulty of accessing testing. The diagnostic approach for this disease has evolved as new instruments and diagnostic testing have become available. The ISTH-Bleeding Assessment Tool is a validated instrument that is used to screen patients referred for bleeding symptoms for further laboratory testing. The three main screening tests used in the diagnosis of VWD include von Willebrand Factor (VWF) antigen, platelet-dependent VWF activity, and factor VIII activity. Improvements in laboratory assays discussed include changes in how traditional assays are performed as well as the addition of new laboratory assays. The role of genetic testing and management of patients with borderline low von Willebrand factor are also discussed.


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