What is von Willebrand Disease (vWD)?

Von Willebrand disease (vWD) is the most common hereditary bleeding disorder. The condition affects girls and boys. Children with von Willebrand disease take longer to stop bleeding because of problems with the von Willebrand Factor (vWF). In most cases, the condition comes from low levels of von Willebrand Factor, but in some patients, the protein does not work properly. The abnormal gene in von Willebrand disease is located on a chromosome called an autosome, rather than a sex-linked (X) chromosome. This means that both men and women can pass the gene for von Willebrand disease to their children. 

There are three types of von Willebrand disease:

  • Type I is characterized by abnormally low levels of von Willebrand Factor.
  • Type II is caused by irregular von Willebrand Factor that is produced. Children may have plenty of von Willebrand Factor, but it doesn’t work properly.
  • Type III happens when there is a total or near absence of von Willebrand Factor.