5. von Willebrand's disease (vWD): historical perspective

  • First described in 1926 by Eric von Willebrand
  • Bleeding disorder affecting both sexes in 24 of 66 family members
  • Prolonged bleeding time despite normal platelet counts and clot retraction
  • von Willebrand postulated disorder was one of platelet dysfunction or a vascular abnormality
  • Bleeding time corrected by addition of fresh normal blood, fresh-frozen plasma, or blood from hemophilia A patients
  • A plasma factor was hypothesized to be necessary for normal bleeding time