von Willebrand Disease

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Overview

Von Willebrand disease is a genetic blood disorder that keeps platelets from sticking to holes in blood vessels to patch them. Healthy platelets stick to wounds and to each other to help form clots that stop bleeding. A protein in the blood and blood vessels called von Willebrand factor causes platelets to stick to injured vessel walls. If there is not enough of this protein or the protein does not work right, the platelets do not stick. This can lead to excessive bleeding.

Children with von Willebrand disease are treated at Seattle Children's, an SCCA's parent organization. Von Willebrand disease in children is not very common, so community doctors usually have limited knowledge of the disease. This is why in the United States almost all children with von Willebrand disease receive treatment at a center, like Seattle Children's, with experience in children's blood disorders. 

Seattle Children's works closely with Puget Sound Blood Center, a partnership that gives you and your child access 24 hours a day to nurses who are experts in caring for children with bleeding disorders. Seattle Children's blood disorders program brings together experts from more than 20 subspecialties to provide diagnostic services and treatments, including the very latest options. Our team of pediatric hematologists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, child life specialists and chaplains partner with you to provide expert, family-centered care and compassionate support. We help you understand your child's health and treatment options because we know that you, your child and your family are an important part of the care team.

Because Seattle Children's doctors take part in and often lead national and international research studies, we can offer new treatment options that many other hospitals cannot give their patients.

Read more about von Willebrand Disease on the Seattle Children's web site. To make an appointment, call Seattle Children's at (206) 987-2106.