The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health, today issued the first clinical guidelines in the United States for the diagnosis and management of von Willebrand Disease (VWD), the most common inherited bleeding disorder. The guidelines include recommendations on screening, diagnosis, disease management, and directions for future research. An extensive article on the guidelines is published online Feb. 29 in the journal Haemophilia.
In VWD, low or absent levels of a blood protein called von Willebrand factor affect the bloods ability to clot. Von Willebrand factor also carries with it clotting factor VIII, another important protein that helps blood clot. VWD is typically milder but more common than another bleeding disorder, hemophilia. However, for some people with VWD, the condition can pose serious health risks, especially during surgery, following an injury, or during childbirth. VWD affects 1 out of every 100 to 1,000 people - both males and females. Hemophilia mainly affects males.
These are the first guidelines on von Willebrand Disease published in the United States and we are pleased to offer clinicians science-based recommendations in the evaluation and treatment of patients, said NHLBI Director Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D. The disease can be difficult to diagnose, especially in women of child-bearing age and in children, and the danger of excessive bleeding is often under-recognized.
In consultation with the American Society of Hematology, the NHLBI convened an expert panel on VWD whose members were selected for their scientific and clinical knowledge and experience, including specialists in hematology as well as family medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, internal medicine, and laboratory sciences. A draft of the guidelines was posted on the NHLBI Website for a 30-day public comment period in September 2006.
Screening recommendations in the guidelines cal
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NIH/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute