J Haem Pract 2017; 4(1). doi: 10.17225/jhp00099

Authors: Greta Mulders, Johan Boender

Greta Mulders
Department of Hematology, Erasmus University Medical Center, Hemophilia Treatment Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Email:

Johan Boender


Glanzmann’s disease or thrombasthenia is a very rare genetic platelet function disorder, caused by a quantitative or qualitative defect or absence of platelet membrane glycoprotein IIb/IIIa. Gastrointestinal bleeds are variable and may be severe, unpredictable and sometimes even untreatable. We present an 86-year-old woman with Glanzmann’s disease, who went to her local hospital with complaints of chest pain, tiredness and shortness of breath. After examination and laboratory research, she was diagnosed with severe anaemia caused by angiodysplasia in the gastrointestinal tract. The patient was followed weekly at our outpatient clinic for several months. Multiple treatments were given to correct her anaemia and its underlying cause. Unfortunately, the patient remained transfusion dependent throughout. She was treated with many blood transfusions, recombinant FVIIa infusions and tranexamic acid. When the burden of the disease and side-effects of the treatment became unbearable, the joint decision was made to stop treatment. The patient then unexpectedly recovered from her gastrointestinal bleeding. This case study highlights the dilemmas clinicians often face when dealing with fragile elderly people who suffer from various disorders.


The authors have advised no interests that might be perceived as posing a conflict or bias.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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