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Keywords:

  • ageing;
  • co-morbidities;
  • haemophilia;
  • orthopaedics;
  • physiotherapy

Summary

Due to improvements in the treatment and medical care of haemophilia, the life expectancy of individuals with haemophilia has approached that of the general population. To review the main co-morbidities of the musculoskeletal system in elderly persons with haemophilia, we have performed a review of the literature on the musculoskeletal problems of elderly haemophiliacs. Chronic arthropathy is the main co-morbidity in the ageing person with haemophilia. Age-related orthopaedic co-morbidities include degenerative joint changes, osteoporosis, muscle atrophy or sarcopenia, muscle weakness and disturbance of gait and balance. Increased pain, muscle weakness and atrophy along with an increased risk of falling are key features of advanced haemophilic arthropathy and ageing. An ageing haemophilia population in which arthropathy continues to be the primary co-morbidity is a current challenge for those responsible for their care. Exercise programmes undertaken two to three times per week for at least 12 weeks seem most effective in reducing the impact of age-related changes on the musculoskeletal system. Establishing effective exercise programmes and strategies to identify individuals who would benefit from early surgical intervention together with presurgical physiotherapy prehabilitation is a priority for future research.