Abstract

In eight members of one family, platelets in platelet-rich plasma aggregated at much lower ristocetin concentrations than normal. Ivy bleeding time was variously prolonged, and von Willebrand factor antigen (vWF:Ag), ristocetin cofactor activity, and factor VIII coagulant activity were decreased. Most of the affected members had had slight to rather severe bleeding symptoms. Platelet-type von Willebrand's disease (vWD) could be ruled out. All multimers of vWF:Ag were found in plasma as well as platelets. Administration of 1-desamino- 8-D-arginine vasopressin (DDAVP) to the propositus did not cause thrombocytopenia, and platelet-poor plasma obtained immediately after did not aggregate normal platelets. The molecular defect in this family, inherited as an autosomal dominant, resembles the one in type IIB because of the response to ristocetin but differs from IIB because all vWF:Ag multimers are present in plasma and the response to DDAVP is atypical. We conclude that this family has a new subtype of vWD and propose that structural as well as functional criteria should be used for a proper classification of vWD.

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