Quantification of Von Willebrand Factor Cleavage by adamts-13 in Patients Supported by Left Ventricular Assist Devices

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Patients supported by left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) often present with the loss of large von Willebrand factor (VWF) multimers. This VWF deficiency is believed to contribute to the bleeding diathesis of patients on LVAD support and is caused by excessive VWF cleavage by the metalloprotease ADAMTS-13 under high shear stress. However, only a small percentage of patients who have suffered the loss of large VWF multimers bleed. The actual rates of VWF cleavage in these patients have not been reported, primarily because of the lack of reliable detection methods. We have developed and validated a selected reaction monitoring (SRM) mass spectrometry method to quantify VWF cleavage as the ratio of the ADAMTS-13–cleaved peptide MVTGNPASDEIK to the ILAGPAGDSNVVK peptide. The rate of VWF cleavage was found to be 1.26% ± 0.36% in normal plasma. It varied significantly in patient samples, ranging from 0.23% to 2.5% of total VWF antigen, even though all patients had the loss of large VWF multimers. Von Willebrand factor cleavage was greater in post-LVAD samples from patients in whom bleeding had developed, but was mostly reduced in patients in whom thrombosis had developed. This SRM method is reliable to quantify the rate of VWF cleavage in patients on LVAD support.

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