Von Willebrand Disease

Von Willebrand (vWD) is the most common bleeding disorder. This condition is named for the doctor, Erik von Willebrand, who first identified it in 1926. Von Willebrand disease affects about 1 out of every 100 persons. Von Willebrand disease is caused by deficient or defective Von Willebrand factor (vWF). This is a protein that is normally found in the cells that line the blood vessels. This protein has two functions: binding to factor VIII to protect it from being destroyed in the blood and binding to platelets to promote clotting. Von Willebrand disease can be passed to a child from either parent.



Von Willebrand Disease (vWD) should be suspected in anyone who has the following symptoms:

  • Easy bruising
  • Heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding
  • Frequent or prolonged nosebleeds
  • Prolonged bleeding after injury, surgery, childbirth, or invasive dental procedures


A network of specialty treatment centers that specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of bleeding disorders, such as Hemophilia and von Willebrand Disease, exists. In this region, you can contact the Hemophilia Center of Western PA for more information or to schedule and appointment.

Hemophilia Center of Western Pennsylvania
3636 Boulevard of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-4306

Margaret V. Ragni, M.D., M.P.H.
Medical Director, Hemophilia Center of Western PA
Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, University of Pittsburgh

Phone: 412-209-7280 Fax: 412-209-7281


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