Coagulopathic bleeding is common during adult extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), and acquired von Willebrand syndrome is a contributing factor. We compared ECMO patient blood samples that were treated in vitro with recombinant von Willebrand Factor concentrate and plasma-derived von Willebrand Factor concentrate. Our hypothesis was that recombinant von Willebrand Factor (vWF) would have greater efficacy in increasing vWF function. Secondarily, we hypothesized that recombinant vWF would have less impact on thrombin generation.
Thirty ECMO patients and 10 cardiac surgical controls were enrolled in the study. ECMO patient blood samples were treated in vitro with low- and high-dose recombinant vWFs and low- and high-dose plasma-derived vWFs. Whole blood ristocetin–induced platelet aggregation (RIPA), plasma ristocetin cofactor activity (RCo), and thrombin generation were compared between ECMO patient blood samples and control blood samples and between vWF-treated ECMO patient blood samples and nontreated samples.
ECMO patient blood samples had severely reduced median RIPA compared to control samples 2 ohms (1–12 [25th–75th percentile]) vs 20 ohms (11–42) (P < .001). Treatment of ECMO patient blood samples with high-dose recombinant vWF significantly increased median RIPA to 10 ohms (2–15) (P < .001), while low-dose recombinant vWF and low- and high-dose plasma-derived vWFs did not significantly increase RIPA; 6 ohms (3–14), 4 ohms (1–13), and 6 ohms (2–10), respectively (P = .25, >.99, and >.99). Treatment with high-dose recombinant vWF and low- and high-dose plasma-derived vWFs significantly increased median plasma RCo to 4.7 international units (IU)/mL (3.7–5.9), 3.3 IU/mL (2.7–4.8), and 3.9 IU/mL (3.4–5.3), respectively, compared to controls 1.8 IU/mL (1.5–2.3) (all P < .001). Treatment with low- and high-dose plasma-derived vWFs significantly increased mean endogenous thrombin potential (6270.2 ± 2038.7 and 6313.1 ± 1913.3) compared to nontreated samples (5856.7 ± 1924.6) (P = .04 and .006), whereas treatment with low- and high-dose recombinant vWFs had no significant effect on mean endogenous thrombin potential (5776.1 ± 2087.3 and 5856.2 ± 1946.4) (P > .99 for both comparisons).
In vitro treatment of ECMO patient blood samples with high-dose recombinant vWF was superior to low-dose recombinant vWF and plasma-derived vWF in terms of improving RIPA. In addition, recombinant vWF treatment did not increase endogenous thrombin potential, which may reduce overall thrombotic risk if it used to treat acquired von Willebrand syndrome in ECMO patients.