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Favaloro E.J.,Institute of Clinical Pathology and Medical Research ICPMR
Seminars in Thrombosis and Hemostasis | Year: 2014

von Willebrand disease (VWD) is a disorder characterized by deficiency of, or defects in, von Willebrand factor (VWF). VWD was originally identified by Erik Adolf von Willebrand, who in early 1924 investigated a large family suffering from a bleeding disorder that seemed to differ from hemophilia. Erik von Willebrand undertook some initial laboratory investigations to conclude the involvement of a plasma factor, the lack of which prolonged the bleeding time, but failed to impair coagulation times and clot retraction. By the end of the 1960s, VWD was accepted as a combined deficiency of factor VIII (FVIII) and another plasma factor responsible for normal platelet adhesion. Just how these two functions were related to each other was less clear and the diagnostic tests available at the time were poorly reproducible, cumbersome, and unreliable; thus, VWD was poorly delineated from other coagulation and platelet disorders. The early 1970s saw a revolution in diagnostics when ristocetin was identified to induce platelet aggregation, and this formed the basis of the first consistent and reliable VWF activity test, permitting quantification of the platelet adhesive function missing in VWD. Concurrently, immunoprecipitating techniques specific for VWF were defined, and the application of such technologies permitted a clearer understanding of both VWF and VWD heterogeneity. Continued exploration of the structure and function of VWF contributed greatly to the understanding of platelet physiology, ligand receptor interaction and pathways of cellular interaction and activation. Recently, additional assays evaluating other functions of VWF, including collagen binding, platelet glycoprotein Ib binding, and FVIII binding, have improved the diagnosis of VWD. The purpose of this narrative review is to explore the history of phenotypic VWD diagnostics, with a focus on laboratory milestones from the past as well highlighting recent and ongoing innovations, and ongoing challenges and possible solutions. © 2014 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc. Source


Favaloro E.J.,Institute of Clinical Pathology and Medical Research ICPMR | Lippi G.,Laboratory of Clinical Chemistry and Hematology
Seminars in Thrombosis and Hemostasis | Year: 2015

A new generation of antithrombotic agents has recently emerged. These provide direct inhibition of either thrombin (factor IIa [FIIa]) or FXa, and are increasingly replacing the classical anticoagulants (heparin and coumarins such as warfarin) in clinical practice for a variety of conditions. These agents have been designated several acronyms, including NOACs, DOACs, and TSOACs, respectively, referring to new (novel; non-vitamin K antagonist) oral anticoagulants, direct oral anticoagulants, and target-specific oral anticoagulants, and currently include dabigatran (FIIa inhibitor), and rivaroxaban, apixaban, edoxaban, and betrixaban (FXa inhibitors). The pervading mantra that NOACs do not require laboratory monitoring is countered by ongoing recognition that laboratory testing for drug effects is needed in many situations. Moreover, since these agents do not require laboratory monitoring, some clinicians inappropriately take this to mean that they do not affect hemostasis tests. This review aims to briefly review the laboratory studies that have evaluated the NOACs against a wide range of laboratory assays to assess utility for qualitative or quantitative measurements of these drugs, as well as interferences that may cause misdiagnosis of hemostatic defects. Point of care testing, including use of alternate samples such as urine and serum, is also under development but is not covered extensively in this review. The main aims of this article are to provide practical guidance to general laboratory testing for NOACs, as well as to help avoid diagnostic errors associated with hemostasis testing performed on samples from treated patients, as these currently comprise major challenges to hemostasis laboratories in the era of the NOACs. © 2015 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc., 333 Seventh Avenue, New York. Source


Favaloro E.J.,Institute of Clinical Pathology and Medical Research ICPMR
Thrombosis and Haemostasis | Year: 2010

This study reports on the evaluation of seven commercial von Willebrand factor (VWF) collagen binding (VWF:CB) assays to potentially assist the discrimination of types 1 and 2 von Willebrand disease (VWD). Samples from 25 patients with type 1 VWD, of varying severity, were cotested with 16 samples from patients with types 2A or 2B VWD, plus various control samples, using each commercial VWF:CB assay assessed against our standard (reference) in-house VWF:CB assay, as well as our in-house VWF antigen (VWF:Ag) and ristocetin cofactor (VWF:RCo) assays. Commercial VWF:CB assays varied in their ability to discriminate types 1 and 2A/2B VWD. The optimal VWF:CB/VWF:Ag ratio at which optimal discrimination occurred also differed between assays, with some improvements observed with some (but not all) assays following a harmonisation process that aimed to correct for different calibrator effects. Assay variability also compromised assay utility in some test occasions. Future standardisation and improvements in some commercial VWF:CB assays are needed before the VWF:CB assay can be more fully and globally utilised for discrimination of VWD types in diagnostic laboratories. © Schattauer 2010. Source


Lippi G.,Laboratory of Clinical Chemistry and Hematology | Favaloro E.J.,Institute of Clinical Pathology and Medical Research ICPMR
Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine | Year: 2015

A new generation of antithrombotic agents, which are conventionally known as direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs), have recently emerged and are continuing to be developed. These provide direct inhibition of either thrombin (factor IIa; FIIa) or activated factor X (FXa) and currently include dabigatran (FIIa inhibitor) and rivaroxaban, apixaban, and edoxaban (FXa inhibitors). The dogma that DOACs do not require laboratory monitoring is countered by ongoing recognition that laboratory testing for drug effects is needed in many situations. In this review, we summarize the background to establishment of DOACs, assess which tests were found to be useful to screen for or quantitate drug effects/levels, and then review published guidelines/recommendations to assess concordance. In brief, (a) for the anti-FIIa agent dabigatran, the recommended screening assays are activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT) and/or thrombin time (TT), and the quantitative assays (using a dabigatran standard) are dilute TT/direct thrombin inhibitor assay (Hemoclot thrombin inhibitor) or an ecarin-based assay such as the ecarin clot time (ECT); (b) for the anti-FXa agent rivaroxaban, the recommended screening assay is the prothrombin time (PT), but this was not endorsed by all guidelines, and the quantitative assay (using a specific rivaroxaban standard) is an anti-FXa assay; (c) for the anti-FXa agent apixaban, the general insensitivity of PT and APTT prevented most groups from providing recommendation, and instead there was generalized support for direct quantitative assessment using anti-FXa assays and specific apixaban standard; (d) there is insufficient data for other direct anti-FXa agents and limited guidance in the literature. © 2015 by De Gruyter 2015. Source


Favaloro E.J.,Institute of Clinical Pathology and Medical Research ICPMR
Seminars in Thrombosis and Hemostasis | Year: 2010

The diagnosis of disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) relies on clinical signs and symptoms, identification of the underlying disease, the results of laboratory testing, and differentiation from other pathologies. The clinical features mainly depend on the underlying cause of the DIC. The laboratory diagnosis of DIC uses a combination of tests because no single test result alone can firmly establish or rule out the diagnosis. Global tests of hemostasis may initially provide evidence of coagulation activation and later in the process provide evidence of consumption of coagulation factors, but their individual diagnostic efficiency is limited. Fibrinolytic markers, in particular D-dimer, are reflective of activation of both coagulation and fibrinolysis, so that a normal finding can be useful for ruling-out DIC. Decreased levels of the natural anticoagulants (in particular, antithrombin and protein C) are frequently observed in patients with DIC, but their measurement is not normally incorporated into standard diagnostic algorithms. New tests are being explored for utility in DIC, and some additional tests may be useful on a case-by-case basis, depending on the proposed cause of the DIC or their local availability. For example, clot waveform analysis is useful but currently limited to a single instrument. Also, procalcitonin is an inflammatory biomarker that may be useful within the context of septic DIC, and activated factor X clotting time is an emerging test of procoagulant phospholipids that also seems to hold promise in DIC. © 2010 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc. Source

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