Adenotonsillectomy in Children With von Willebrand Disease

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To review the effectiveness of a perioperative management protocol and our experience with a large population of patients with von Willebrand disease (vWD) who require adenotonsillar surgery (T&A).


A retrospective review of the medical records of all patients having the diagnosis of vWD who underwent T&A between January 1, 1992, and July 31, 1996.


A tertiary care, university-based children's hospital.


Patients having a preoperative diagnosis of vWD received a single intravenous dose of desmopressin acetate, 0.3 micrograms/kg, approximately 20 minutes before the induction of anesthesia. Beginning January 15, 1994, a standard management protocol involving the postoperative administration of fluids and electrolytes was followed.

Main Outcome Measures

Operative blood loss and the incidence of postoperative bleeding and of hyponatremia.


Of approximately 4800 patients who underwent T&A during the study period, 69 patients had a diagnosis of vWD. All 67 patients identified preoperatively received desmopressin; 2 were identified by postoperative workup as a result of excessive surgical bleeding. Minimal immediate postoperative bleeding was noted in 7 patients (10%), but none required intervention. Delayed bleeding occurred in 9 patients (13%); all were readmitted to the hospital for observation, 4 (6%) requiring operative cauterization. Substantial postoperative hyponatremia occurred in 3 patients, and 1 patient had seizure activity. Symptomatic hyponatremia has been avoided since a protocol of fluid and electrolyte administration was instituted.


Although T&A can be performed safely in patients with vWD, it is not without an increased risk of postoperative hemorrhage. The administration of desmopressin has been reported to reduce the risk of bleeding, but it is not without risk. A protocol for fluid and electrolyte management is recommended.

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