Von Willebrand disease (vWD) is the most common hereditary coagulation abnormality described in humans, although it can also be acquired as a result of other medical conditions. It arises from a qualitative or quantitative deficiency of von Willebrand factor (vWF), a multimeric protein that is required for platelet adhesion. It is known to affect humans and dogs (notably Doberman Pinschers), and rarely swine, cattle, horses, and cats. There are three forms of vWD: hereditary, acquired, and pseudo or platelet type. There are three types of hereditary vWD: vWD Type I, vWD Type II, and vWD Type III. Within the three inherited types of vWD there are various subtypes. Platelet type vWD is also an inherited condition.
vWD Type I is the most common type of the disorder and those that have it are typically asymptomatic or may experience mild symptoms such as nosebleeds although there may be severe symptoms in some cases. There are various factors that affect the presentation and severity of symptoms of vWD such as blood type.
vWD is named after Erik Adolf von Willebrand, a Finnish pediatrician who first described the disease in 1926.