Type 1 von Willebrand disease (VWD) is characterized by a personal and family history of bleeding coincident with reduced levels of normal plasma von Willebrand factor (VWF). The molecular basis of the disorder is poorly understood. The aims of this study were to determine phenotype and genotype and their relationship in patients historically diagnosed with type 1 VWD. Families were recruited in 9 European countries based on previous type 1 VWD diagnosis. Bleeding symptoms were recorded, plasma phenotype analyzed, and VWF mutation analysis performed in all index cases (ICs). Phenotypic and molecular analysis stratified patients into those with or without phenotypes suggestive of qualitative VWF defects (abnormal multimers) and with or without mutations. A total of 105 of 150 ICs (70%) had mutations identified. A subgroup with abnormal multimers (38% of ICs, 57 of 150) showed a high prevalence of VWF gene mutations (95% of ICs, 54 of 57), whereas in those with qualitatively normal VWF, fewer mutations were identified (55% of ICs, 51 of 93). About one third of the type 1 VWD cases recruited could be reconsidered as type 2. The remaining group could be considered "true" type 1 VWD, although mutations were found in only 55%.
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