An elderly patient with evidence of atherosclerosis and uremic bleeding diathesis developed two foci of cerebral thrombosis immediately after an infusion of desmopressin (DDAVP). Because large molecular weight multimers of von Willebrand factor (vWF) have been demonstrated to cause platelet aggregation under conditions of elevated fluid shear stress as occurs in atherosclerotic vessels, we investigated his plasma vWF at the time of the event and compared it to baseline values obtained 2 weeks later. Unusually large vWF multimers induced by the DDAVP infusion were present and likely contributed to the thrombotic process. Consequently, we believe DDAVP should be given with greater caution to patients with atherosclerosis.
- von Willebrand factor
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