One of the best ways to detect von Willebrand disease at the earliest possible point is to be screened. Screening exams can sometimes detect the disorder before any symptoms even arise.

The OSUCCC – James experts recommend the following ways to detect and diagnose von Willebrand disease:

Physical Exam & Medical History

Your doctor will examine you for overall health and any signs of unusual bruising or increased bleeding. You’ll also discuss your medical history, especially any unusual bleeding, including:

  • Bleeding from a small wound that lasted for more than 15 minutes or started again within 7 days of the injury
  • Bruising from little or no trauma
  • Prolonged, heavy or repeated bleeding following surgery or dental extractions
  • Unexplained blood in your stools
  • Heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding with clots
  • Medical history of liver or kidney disease, bone marrow disease and platelet counts

Blood Tests

Although no single test can confirm a VWD diagnosis, the OSUCCC – James diagnostic experts use the following blood tests to help identify the disorder:

Von Willebrand Factor Antigen

This blood test measures the amount of von Willebrand factor in your blood.

Von Willebrand Factor Ristocetin Cofactor Activity

This test can help determine how well the von Willebrand factor is working in your body.

Factor VIII Clotting Activity

This test checks the clotting activity of factor VIII.

Von Willebrand Factor Multimers

This test is used if one or more of the first three tests identifies abnormal results. The test demonstrates the structure of the von Willebrand factor in your body to help your doctor diagnose what type of VWD you have.

Platelet Function Test

This test measures how well your platelets are working.

Your physician may perform these tests more than once for you to confirm a VWD diagnosis.

(Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)


If you’ve been diagnosed with von Willebrand disease, would like a second opinion or would like to speak with a blood disorder specialist, please call The James Line at 800-293-5066 or 614-293-5066 to make an appointment.

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Patient Story

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Jennifer Cox

With attentive care from her OSUCCC – James treatment team, Jennifer Cox has learned to manage von Willebrand disease, an inherited bleeding disorder.

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