Abnormality of von Willebrand factor in patients with hemoglobin E-β° thalassemia

P. J. Benson, L. C. Peterson*, D. K. Hasegawa, C. M. Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The authors have identified six Southeast Asian patients ranging in age from 14 to 21 years with hemoglobin E-β° thalassemia and a coagulopathy involving von Willebrand factor (vWF). These patients had normal or only slightly decreased plasma clotting factor levels. The activated partial thromboplastin time was prolonged in four of the patients. The abnormal feature common to all patients was a qualitative loss of high molecular weight multimers of vWF by crossed immunoelectrophoresis (vWF:CIE). Plasma vWF antigen concentration (vWF:Ag) and ristocetin cofactor activity (vWF:RCo) also were decreased and bleeding time prolonged in three patients. Epistaxis was present in two. No family history of increased bleeding tendency was present in any patient. Coagulation parameters and vWF:CIE were normal in two first-degree relatives without this hemoglobinopathy. vWF abnormalities and clinical manifestations were greatest in those patients with the most severe anemia and hepatosplenomegaly. These six patients appear to have an acquired abnormality of vWF, although they lack the clinical characteristics of acquired von Willebrand disease. While the etiology of this abnormality is unclear, the authors speculate that proteolysis of vWF secondary to extramedullary hematopoiesis or loss through high cardiac output shear stress in these anemic patients may be involved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-399
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of clinical pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1990


  • acquired von Willebrand disease
  • crossed immunoelectrophoresis
  • hemoglobin E-β° thalassemia
  • von Willebrand factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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