Von Willebrand disease (VWD) is the most common congenital bleeding disorder and is due to quantitative or qualitative defects of von Willebrand factor (VWF). Acquired defects of VWF, termed acquired von Willebrand syndrome (AVWS), are due to a host of different mechanisms. Autoantibody-mediated AVWS may be associated with lymphoproliferative or immunological disorders, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). A large majority of AVWS cases are type 1 or type 2A-like and patients tend to have a mild to moderate bleeding tendency. We report a case of severe autoimmune AVWS in a woman with SLE who presented with clinical and laboratory features of type 3 VWD (undetectable VWF antigen, ristocetin cofactor activity, and VWF multimers). A mixing study demonstrated an inhibitor to VWF (6 BU/mL). Her bleeds were managed with antifibrinolytics, recombinant activated factor VII, and activated prothrombin complex concentrate. She was initially treated with steroids and intravenous immunoglobulin therapy. However, her bleeding symptoms continued until she was treated with rituximab, and her VWF parameters normalized. She relapsed two years later due to non-compliance with her immunosuppressive medications and expired another two years later secondary to complications of sepsis and uremic pericarditis. This case emphasizes the importance of aggressive initial therapy of SLE to reduce secondary complications, frequent patient monitoring, and continued treatment of the underlying autoimmune disorder in patients with AVWS.
- Acquired von Willebrand syndrome
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
ASJC Scopus subject areas