Federal health officials hope to raise the profile of a family of inherited bleeding disorders that are often overlooked during routine physical examinations.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) on February 29 issued the first US guidelines for the diagnosis and management of von Willebrand disease, the most common inherited bleeding disorder (http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/vwd/vwd.pdf). Patients with this disorder may experience symptoms that range from easy bruising and heavy menstrual bleeding to potentially life-threatening bleeding following surgery, trauma, or childbirth.
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Loss or dysfunction of von Willebrand factor (blue), a protein that normally helps platelets adhere at sites of vascular injury, causes a family of inherited bleeding disorders.
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