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August 1981

Otolaryngology and von Willebrand's Disease

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Otolaryngology, University of Colorado Health Science Center, Denver (Dr Gumprecht). Dr Cichon is in private practice in Pueblo, Colo.

Arch Otolaryngol. 1981;107(8):491-493. doi:10.1001/archotol.1981.00790440031008

In 1926, von Willebrand reported a bleeding disease involving several members of a family on the islands of Aland off the coast of Finland. He described a disorder characterized by epistaxis, bleeding gums, bleeding from trivial wounds, and menorrhagia. He noted that hemarthroses such as found in hemophilia were rare. Von Willebrand found that these patients had a prolonged bleeding time despite a normal platelet count, but their coagulation time and clot retraction were normal. He called this disorder a hereditary pseudohemophilia affecting both sexes.1.2

Our understanding of von Willebrand's disease has advanced considerably since its original description. We know that this is one of the commonest inheritable bleeding diatheses. The exact incidence is unknown.3 The importance to the otolaryngologist of adequately understanding this disorder is shown by the cases reported herein.

REPORT OF CASES  Case 1.—An 8-year-old boy was admitted to Denver General Hospital for tonsillectomy.

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