Semin Thromb Hemost 2007; 33(8): 727-744
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-1000364
© Thieme Medical Publishers

An Update on the von Willebrand Factor Collagen Binding Assay: 21 Years of Age and Beyond Adolescence but Not Yet a Mature Adult

Emmanuel J. Favaloro1
  • 1Department of Haematology, Institute of Clinical Pathology and Medical Research (ICPMR), Westmead Hospital, Westmead, Australia
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
04 January 2008 (online)


von Willebrand disease (VWD) is considered to be the most common inherited bleeding disorder. It is diagnosed after a clinical and physical review, with personal and familial evidence of (primarily mucocutaneous) bleeding, and confirmed by laboratory testing. The latter typically entails initial plasma testing of factor VIII coagulant (FVIII:C), von Willebrand factor (VWF) protein (antigen; VWF:Ag), and VWF function, which has classically been assessed using the ristocetin cofactor (VWF:RCo) assay. More recent attention has focused on another functional VWF assay, the collagen binding (VWF:CB) assay, as a possible replacement for the VWF:RCo assay or as a supplementary test of VWF adhesive “activity.” Additional laboratory testing can comprise a battery of confirmatory and VWD subtype assisting assays, including assessment of VWF:multimers. This review updates our knowledge of VWD diagnostics with a particular emphasis on the VWF:CB assay. There is good evidence now in place that an optimized VWF:CB assay can significantly reduce the diagnostic error rate otherwise arising from the use of a test panel restricted to including the VWF:RCo assay as the sole functional VWF assay. Nevertheless, the VWF:CB assay should not be used to wholly replace the VWF:RCo assay in phenotypic testing but rather as a supplementary assay. However, with some thought and justification, the VWF:CB assay can be used to partly replace the VWF:RCo assay in some “screening” applications and can also be used to abrogate the need to perform routine VWF:multimers in most test cases.


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Dr. Emmanuel J FavaloroPh.D. M.A.I.M.S. 

Department of Haematology, Institute of Clinical Pathology and Medical Research (ICPMR)

Westmead Hospital, SWAHS, Westmead, NSW, 2145, Australia